Common Health Conditions That May Cause Skin Tags
For something that's so common, skin tags are relatively unknown to the medical community. These fleshy growths can appear in almost any location throughout the body, and while the majority of cases are found in older adults, its presence may be found in people of all ages, genders and nationalities. Officially defined as an accumulation of collagen fibers, blood vessels and skin cells, these growths are more of a nuisance than an actual cause of concern. Although there are many risk factors associated with the growth and progression of skin tags, preliminary evidence suggests certain medical conditions can encourage the development of these pesky skin lesions.
The Connection Between Obesity and Skin Tags
Almost every system within your body is negatively affected as you begin to gain excess fat. When the human body progresses from just a few pounds overweight into the realm of obesity, the dangers associated with the rise in body fat extend to not only your internal health, but also your external appearances. According to the journal Clinics in Dermatology, obesity directly influences a wide array of skin conditions, known as dermatoses. Along with common issues, such as stretch marks, obesity is known to alter nerve endings within your skin and even how blood travels throughout the skin. Along with an increase in a variety of medical conditions, there seems to be a direct connection between obesity and skin tags.
Although the epidemiological evidence linking obesity and skin tags is not conclusive, physicians believe the friction caused by excessive skin folds and creases promotes the formation of skin tags. There may be a connection between obesity and hormonal alterations and the progression of skin tags, but there is not enough evidence to fully link this potential cause.
The Diabetes Link – Insulin Resistance and Skin Tags
Diabetes causes a myriad of issues within the human body. However, one of the more surprising discoveries is the link between diabetes and skin tags. According to a study outlined by the Europe PubMed Central medical journal database, researchers found that out of 216 cases of skin tags roughly 30 percent of patients featured skin tags. Along with the presence of diabetes, nearly 28 percent of these skin tag cases were among those who were classified as obese. Although there was not enough evidence to fully suggest a connection between obese patients and skin tags (within this particular study), there was significant evidence suggesting those with an inability to metabolize carbohydrates were at a greater risk of developing skin tags. In fact, preliminary studies may suggest the severity of skin tags may be an excellent indicator for those at an increased risk of developing diabetes.
Moreover, another study published in the Journal of Clinical Pathology found a direct connection between the development of skin tags with not only Type 2 diabetes but also cardiovascular disease. Therefore, it's suggested the interaction between blood sugar and circulating blood fats may play a direct role in the formation of these benign skin growths.
HPV and Skin Tags – A Potential for Growth
HPV, or the human papilloma virus, is found in a variety of forms. While some versions of the HPV virus afflict specific portions of the body, such as the feet or genitals, others may showcase itself in unique fleshy growths, such as skin tags. According to information outlined by the Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology, researchers from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences found the HPV-6 and HPV-11 virus DNA within 48.6 percent of evaluated skin tags. This is an interesting development as it suggests some skin tags may be the result of a viral infection. Although HPV-6 and HPV-11 are considered “low risk” versions of the virus, it suggests the development of some skin tags may be due to a viral transmission on some level.
Another widespread study outlined by the British Journal of Dermatology also found concentrations of the HPV6/11 virus within skin tags. Throughout the study, researchers evaluated skin tags from 49 patients. The extracted skin tags were tested using a unique analysis designed to identify all forms of the HPV virus. At the end of the study, roughly 88 percent of skin tags revealed concentrations of HPV-6 and HPV-11. These results support the theory that some forms of skin tags are the direct result of an HPV viral infection.