Exploring the Causes and Risk Factors for Developing Skin Tags
You may be curious about the sudden formation of small, fleshy pieces of skin that's developed on your otherwise smooth skin surface. Although any alteration to the texture and surface of your skin is cause for concern, when it comes to skin tags, there is very little to worry about. In fact, skin tags are among the most common skin ailment in America. According to the National Institutes of Health, roughly 46 percent of Americans are afflicted with this harmless skin condition. Even though the development of fleshy growths may send your mind into a tailspin, the best way to calm your anxiety is with knowledge.
From Flesh They're Born – The Causes of Skin Tags
Skin tags find their way onto the bodies of almost all persons. While these fleshy growths can afflict both young and old, the majority of skin tags do not begin to surface until midlife. They are especially common in the elderly; however, this does not mean those in their teen years or early twenties cannot experience this condition.
It's believed by researchers skin tags are the result of collagen and blood vessels, which become trapped underneath your skin. As time progresses and collagen fibers, blood vessels and skin cells grow, these fleshy overhangs of flesh begin to develop. Although the exact cause of skin tags is unknown to the scientific community, it's believed the constant rubbing action of skin folds or in areas of skin where clothing and jewelry rest directly influences the growth of skin tags. Because of this, skin tags are most commonly found around the neck, eyelids, underarms and throughout the torso.
Even though the exact cause of skin tags is currently unknown, there seems to be a connection between four specific conditions and the development of tags. These include:
- Obesity/Overweight Individuals – Those who are overweight or obese seem to have a higher concentration of skin tags. Although there may be hormonal influences supporting its growth, researchers believe the increase of skin folds and creases play a direct role.
- Pregnancy – Throughout pregnancy the human body pumps out a variety of hormones. The fluctuations of these hormones results in a wide variety of physical symptoms, which include skin tags. Research outlined in the Journal of Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery found a myriad of skin changes throughout pregnancy, which is likely the direct result of immune system, metabolic and hormonal changes. Common skin changes experienced throughout pregnancy include skin discoloration, stretch marks and skin tags. The International Journal of Dermatology found skin tags were more common during the final stages of pregnancy.
- Diabetes – There seems to be a direct connection between diabetes and the development of skin tags. According to a study published in the November 2007 edition of the International Journal of Dermatology, those with skin tags had a significantly higher frequency of diabetes than those who do not feature these skin growths. The data collected throughout the study suggests those who are unable to properly metabolize carbohydrates – such as those who are insulin resistant – may be at a greater risk of developing skin tags. Although more research is required to fully determine this connection, preliminary findings are worth considering.
- HPV - This may be one of the more debated causes of skin tags. While some studies have found little connection between HPV, or the human papilloma virus, and skin tags, other studies point to a slight connection. In a study published by the Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology, researchers found that 48.6% of skin tags examined featured the DNA presence of HPV-6 and HPV-11, which are low-risk strains of the HPV virus. Although these findings are not conclusive, it does support the hypothesis that this condition can be the direct result of a viral infection.
- Illegal Steroids – While millions of weightlifters and aspiring bodybuilders throughout the world turn to illegal steroids to support massive muscle gains, they may also be supporting the growth and development of skin tags. It's believed the introduction of illegal steroids causes an interference between muscles and the body. This hindering of neural communication can result in collagen fibers to bond together in groups, which directly influences the growth of skin tags.
As you can see, the root cause of skin tags can significantly range. It's possible that even if you do not fit within any of the aforementioned groups you can still develop these harmless growths. Regardless, the development of skin tags is generally nothing to be concerned about. While insurance rarely covers the removal of these benign tumors, there is a wide array of natural homeopathic remedies capable of safely and permanently removing these unwanted growths.