People often want to know how to make skin tags go away. These fleshy growths often appear near skin folds and in areas such as the eyelids, armpits, neck or groin. They are not dangerous, but having a dermatologist remove them surgically can be costly. We’ve heard from plenty of readers who have other ideas about getting rid of them. Recently, however, one reader suggested a way to avoid skin tags.

How Can You Avoid Skin Tags?

Q. You recently wrote about using castor oil to get rid of skin tags. I discovered my skin tags appeared after I had eaten too many sweets. Reduced sugars equaled no skin tags.

Lowering Sugar as a Way to Avoid Skin Tags:

A. Thanks for the observation. Physicians have noticed that skin tags appear to be more common in people who are overweight and at risk for metabolic syndrome (Wali & Wali, Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research, Jan. 2016).  It appears that elevated levels of insulin resulting from insulin resistance are associated with multiple skin tags and a condition called acanthosis nigricans (Gonzalez-Saldivar et al, Dermatology and Therapy, March 2017). In this condition, the skin in folds such as the groin and around the neck become darker and velvety in texture. While certain drugs may bring it on, it is commonly associated with insulin resistance or occasionally hormonal disturbances.

People with increasing numbers of skin tags or who notice their skin darkening around the neck and in armpits or groin folds should check with their doctors. Although these skin changes are not risky in and of themselves, they could signal insulin resistance and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Some simple blood tests might determine whether a person was on the brink of pre-diabetes or even diabetes.

Your approach of eliminating sweets might help restore a more normal metabolism, lowering blood sugar and insulin. Many nutrition experts would suggest that sweets are not the only foods that could disrupt insulin, however. Consequently, people who find themselves in this situation might need to consider cutting back on all foods with a high glycemic index, including cereal, bread, crackers and pizza. Foods with a low glycemic index are less likely to boost insulin levels and contribute to insulin resistance.

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