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Are Skin Tags A Sign Of Diabetes

Skin Tags And Diabetes: Facts On Their Connection

7 Skin Warning Signs of Diabetes

Researchers and health practitioners have established a connection between skin tags and diabetes. Although the causes of skin tags have not been determined, skins tags are believed to be more common in diabetic, overweight, and obese persons. They are also often associated with people who are 50 years or older. However, it is worth noting that skin tags can affect anyone and at any time.

Although skin tags and diabetes are linked, a common misconception is that skin tags are a symptom of diabetes. However, this is not the case and not all skin tags are related to diabetes. So having skin tags doesnt necessarily mean that you are diabetic. Nonetheless, most people with diabetes are at a higher risk of having skin tags.

The cause of these growths in diabetic people is still unclear. It is, however, believed to have a lot to do with the bodys resistance to insulin. Also, it appears to be connected by the fact that most people with diabetes are overweight, which makes them more susceptible to skin tags.

Another fallacy regarding the link between skin tags and diabetes is that all diabetic people will get them. This is a misleading notion and 1 in every 4 diabetic people will develop skin tags.

Are Skin Tags A Red Flag For Other Health Problems

Some experts believe that skin tags could be a sign of another health condition that may need treatment, particularly if the skin tags appear relatively quickly and are numerous. See your doctor regularly to check for the following conditions that may occur with skin tags:

  • . This condition is a combination of factors that increase the risk of , , diabetes, and other health problems. Someone with metabolic syndrome has at least three of these risk factors: , high blood sugar, high triglycerides, low HDL , or obesity, especially extra fat in the belly area.

  • . People who are very overweight often have skin tags. That may be because their skin has extra folds where tags can grow. Skin tags are also common in people who have high levels of fats in their blood .

  • Insulin resistance and diabetes. Skin tags occur much more often among those with insulin resistance or . Insulin resistance means that the body makes insulin but does not use it properly. Over time, insulin resistance can lead to levels and type 2 diabetes.

  • . This condition causes women to have irregular menstrual periods and high levels of androgens . PCOS also causes small cysts to form on the ovaries. Symptoms vary, but skin tags may be a warning sign in some women.

  • . Skin tags are one of many skin changes that are common during pregnancy. These harmless growths may disappear after giving birth.

Treatment For Skin Tags

Skin tags are entirely harmless, so there is no medical need to have them treated. However, some people find them to be irritating or want them removed for cosmetic reasons.

The best option may be to have your doctor remove skin tags for you. There are a number of methods for doing so:

Some people find natural remedies to be effective in skin tag removal, but the effectiveness of these remedies has never been studied. Some natural remedies claimed to be helpful are apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil, and lemon juice. Here are some home remedies and over-the-counter options for removing skin tags that you can try.

With any of these methods, there is a risk of infection. This is worth considering because infections can be more damaging for people with diabetes. Trying to remove the skin tags yourself increases the risk of infection.

If your skin tags are related to diabetes, you might find with stabilized insulin that the skin tags clear and dont recurred as frequently. This might be a preferable option to removal, as it avoids risk of infection.

Also, while skin tags dont recur after removal, you might find that new ones grow nearby, if you havent treated the root cause of the problem.

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  • Bacterial Skin Infections Need Immediate Treatment

    What is Diabetes and Its Uncommon Symptoms?

    Although anyone can get bacterial skin infections, people with diabetes are more prone to them. Typical bacterial skin problems that tend to trouble patients include eyelid sties, boils, nail infections, and carbuncles deep infections of the skin and the tissue underneath. Usually, the area around the infection will be hot, red, painful, and swollen. Treatment with antibiotic creams or pills will usually clear up these skin problems.

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    Acanthosis Nigricans Turns Skin Dark And Velvety

    Acanthosis nigricans causes skin problems in body folds and turns the skin creases dark, thick, and velvety. This diabetes skin problem usually develops in people who are very overweight. Theres no cure, but losing weight may improve the skins appearance. If you have the skin problem and havent been diagnosed with diabetes, talk to your doctor. Acanthosis nigricans usually appears before diabetes strikes.

    Skin Tags & Their Link To Diabetes

    As well as obesity, Gómezs research found that skin tags were a symptom of another health condition. The researchers found a significant link between skin tags and insulin levels. This suggests skin tags could be a potential early warning sign of diabetes.

    • Fact: 29 million + Americans have diabetes, and another 86 million adults have prediabetes .

    The same results were found in a study by Brazilian scientist de Almeida in the journal Anais Brasileiros de Dermatologia, a Brazilian publication focusing on skin health. The study showed a significant link between the presence of skin tags and insulin resistance.

    It is thought that the inability to properly regulate blood sugar levels, which is the cause of diabetes, also increases systemic inflammation levels. This inflammation, in turn, causes abnormal cell turnover in the skin, leading to increased skin tags.

    Another potential cause of the skin tags is a dietary imbalance. For example, an imbalance of fatty acids in the diet can lead to excess inflammation and poor cell membrane health. A lack of Vitamin A can also affect the ability of cells to divide healthily.

    If youre concerned about diabetes, you should seek professional medical advice. However, these dietary imbalances, and therefore blood glucose levels, can easily be improved in several ways:

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    Treatment Of Skin Tags

    Skin tags are painless and medically harmless. However, many people do find skin tags to be irritating and hence, prefer to get them removed. There are many medical procedures to remove skin tags:

    Cryotherapy: This method uses extremely cold temperatures to remove skin tags.

    Excision or Surgery: In this surgical method, your doctor might use scissors and scalpels to remove skin tags.

    Electrosurgery: In this method, high-frequency electrical energy is used to cause thermal destruction to the skin tags.

    Ligation: In this method, your skin tag is tied by a surgical thread to disrupt the blood flow to the tissue.

    Apart from these medical methods, many home remedies also exist to remove skin tags naturally, such as through apple cider vinegar and lemon juice. However, you must remember, no matter what procedure you take to remove skin tags, there is a high chance of developing infections later. This factor must be considered before opting for skin tag removal, especially if you are diabetic. However, in the case of skin tags caused due to diabetes, you can easily clear your skin by controlling your blood sugar levels. Effective management of diabetes also reduces the chances of developing skin tags again.

    What Causes Skin Tags

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    Skin tags are most common among obese people, and may be a sign of insulin resistance or pre-diabetes.

    Approximately 50% of the entire population has or will have skin tags at sometime. They are more likely to appear as a person ages in middle-aged adulthood, an increase in frequency up to about age 60. It is also believed that friction from clothing may contribute to the growth of skin tags as they tend to grow most in areas where clothing and skin rub.

    Skin tags can be a sign of insulin resistance. They may occur alone, in groups, and are often seen along with acanthosis nigricans , a discoloration in patches of skin. There are many home cures and removal methods for skin tags, but because of the risk of bleeding and infection it is best to have them removed in your doctors office.

    A cluster of skin tags.

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    Insulin Resistance And Its Association With Skin Manifestations

    Insulin is a peptide hormone synthesized and secreted by the beta cells of the pancreas. Glucose is the main regulator of insulin secretion as the glucose concentration increases, it stimulates insulin secretion. Some of the glucoregulatory effects of insulin are inhibition of glycogenolysis and gluconeogenesis, increased transportation of glucose into adipose tissue and muscle, stimulation of glycogen synthesis, as well as a playing a major role in lipid and protein metabolism .

    Insulin resistance can present in a wide spectrum of clinical manifestations. These include: acanthosis nigricans, skin tags, hisrutism, , and androgenetic alopecia 1) . The biologic plausibility of this association relies on the fact that hyperinsulinemia activates insulin growth factor-1 receptors located in fibroblasts and keratinocytes directly and indirectly, stimulating their proliferation . Hyperinsulinemia can also influence the production of sex steroids. Also, insulin and IGF-1 increase ovarian androgens by stimulating the ovaries to produce androgens via the increase of 17-hydroxylase local activity and inhibiting hepatic synthesis of sex hormone-binding globulin , which increases the availability of free testosterone . It is also important to mention that skin diseases such as psoriasis, hidradenitis suppurativa, and vitiligo have been strongly associated with insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome .

    Skin Manifestations Of Insulin Resistance


    Acrochordons, also known as fibroepithelial polyps, skin tags, or soft fibromas, are among the most common skin tumors . They are a benign skin condition unusual before age 30 years, but highly prevalent thereafter, particularly in advanced age. In fact, after age 40, the frequency of skin tags is ~37% . They are more common among women and overweight or obese patients however, these also have a familial/genetic relationship. Recently, several studies have associated acrochordons to impaired glucose tolerance and diabetes . In 1976, Margolis et al. conducted one of the first studies and reported that 9.4% of 500 hospitalized patients had acrochordons, of which 72% had T2D, and suggested that acrochordons could be a risk factor for diabetes . Later, in the late 1980s, Norris et al. reported a correlation between skin tags and insulin resistance for the first time. Interestingly, only 15% of the individuals had a corresponding impaired fasting glucose. Strengthening the association, a study performed by Kahana et al. revealed that 34% of patients with acrochordons had T2D .

    aClassical presentation of acrochordons, showing multiple, pedunculated and small tumors, some of them slightly hyperpigmented. b Giant acrochordon, soft, skin-colored, round, pedunculated tumor

    Histopathology of an acrochordons demonstrating papillomatosis, slight acanthosis, and fibrovascular tissue in papillary dermis

    Acanthosis Nigricans

    Androgenetic Alopecia

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    How Diabetes Affects Skin

    Diabetes can have an impact on the health of skin in multiple ways. High blood glucose levels are behind most of the skin problems caused by diabetes. Too much sugar in the blood prompts the body to pull fluid from cells in order to produce enough urine to remove the sugar, which in turn makes skin dry .

    Dry, red, and irritated skin also can result from damage to nerves , particularly nerves in the legs and feet. Damaged nerves may not get the message to perspire, and perspiration helps to keep skin moist and soft.

    In turn, when skin is overly dry, it can crack, peel and become itchy. Scratching it can create small openings in the skin. These openings provide easy access for infectious organisms to get under the skin, where excess sugar in the blood provides a fertile breeding ground for them to proliferate.

    Beyond dryness and infections are an array of other skin problems associated with diabetes.

    Should Skin Tags Be Removed

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    There is usually no medical reason to remove skin tags, but you should talk with your doctor if they are bothersome or make you feel self-conscious. Your doctor may remove them if they are large, bleed, get irritated by jewelry or clothing, or are unsightly.

    Doctors remove skin tags in several ways:

    • Surgical scissors. A doctor can often clip off small skin tags. Anesthesia is not needed. This can be done during an office visit.

    • . This involves freezing off skin tags with liquid nitrogen.

    • Cauterization. This procedure burns off skin tags with an electrical current.

    • Minor surgery. Larger skin tags may require surgical removal with anesthesia.

    The freezing and burning procedures could cause color changes in the treated skin. A skin tag on your eyelid may need treatment by an eye specialist known as an .

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    Disseminated Granuloma Annulare Causes Skin Itching

    This skin problem causes raised, bumpy, or ring-shaped spots that are skin colored, red, or red-brown. Disseminated granuloma annulare most often occurs on the fingers and ears. Some people report mild itching. Typically, medical treatment is not needed because the rash usually disappears on its own without leaving scars. But ask your doctor if a topical steroid, like hydrocortisone, could improve your skin problems.

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    Are Skin Tags Early Symptoms Of Diabetes

    Skin tags might not have any direct health issues, but they do affect our self-esteem and can cause irritation if caught by clothing.

    However, if you notice a sharp increase in the number of tags you have, there might be an underlying medical problem you should look into.

    There is a proven link between skin tags and diabetes, which is why people who are overweight or obese are more prone to them. Thats why you should consult with your GP to see if theres a medical ailment, at the same time as you begin the process of removing your skin tags.

    How Sugar Is Ruining Your Skin

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    Sugar metabolism is the process of breaking down the foods we eat into fuel the bodys cells need to grow and function. Ingestion of pure sugar, or high-glycemic foods that are rapidly converted to sugar, causes a spike in insulin levels. Over time, insulin resistance and changes in blood sugar control may occur. As the bodys largest organ, the skin can be negatively affected in a visible way both by higher sugar levels and increased insulin concentrations.


    Digested sugar permanently attaches to cellular proteins through a process called glycation. This leads to the formation and build up of advanced glycation end products that adversely affect skin cells as well as dermal collagen and elastin. Typical signs of aging such as delayed healing, distortion of skin vasculature, and increased laxity can be partially attributed to accumulation of AGEs also known as the Sugar Sag.


    Hormones play an integral role in acne formation especially adult acne. Elevated insulin concentrations have been shown to stimulate oil gland formation, increase oil production, and raise androgen levels all factors that lead to more breakouts and potentially increase growth of unwanted hair. This is all in addition to the added inflammation known to be caused by the effects of sugar on the bodys immune system.



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    What Skin Tags Look Like

    Skin tags are small, soft, skin-coloured growths on your skin. They can vary in colour and size from a few millimetres up to 5cm wide.

    They are usually found on the neck, armpits, around the groin, or under the breasts, but they can also grow on the eyelids or under the folds of the buttocks.

    They can look like warts, but skin tags are usually smooth and soft .

    Skin tags are knobbly and hang off the skin

    Skin tags are not contagious

    NB: Skin tags do not usually cause any pain or discomfort.


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