The Link Between Skin Tags and Diabetes

  • Studies revealed that people with diabetes tend to develop skin tags compared to those who don’t have the condition.
  • Skin tags are skin growths that are medically harmless and can be removed using methods like cryotherapy, ligation or by surgery.
  • But having skin tags doesn’t always mean you have diabetes, due to the fact that skin tags are also associated with other various conditions. 


Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when your blood glucose or blood sugar is too high and your body can no longer process it correctly.

Normally, the pancreas produces the hormone insulin to help move sugar from the blood into the cells of the body of a person without diabetes. But in people with diabetes, the pancreas can no longer make insulin, or the body can’t use insulin properly. These result in sugar levels building up in the blood.

Skin tags

Skin tags are small, flesh protrusions that hang off your skin. Essentially, they are harmless but some people opt to have them removed because they can be irritating.

While people with diabetes are more likely to develop skin tags, these growths are also associated with other conditions and lifestyles. Getting a skin tag doesn’t automatically mean you are diabetic. However, it is better to visit your doctor if skin tags appear. Your doctor might likely test for diabetes to rule this out for a cause.  

What’s the Link Between Skin Tags and Diabetes?

A 2007 study suggested that people with numerous skin tags have increased risks for diabetes, thereby advising healthcare providers to suspect diabetes in people with such growths. Another study in 2015 had the same findings confirming the link while a more recent study also found that skin tags were a marker for high cholesterol levels among people with type 2- diabetes.

Why people with diabetes are more prone to having skin tags remains unclear, although it seems related to insulin resistance. However, further studies are required to validate this. Obesity, which is linked to diabetes, could be another factor causing the development of skin tags.

How skin tag is removed

Skin tags are medically harmless. But if you want them removed for cosmetic purposes, the best way is to have your doctor do the procedure. Methods for removing them include:

  1. Surgical removal or cutting the skin tag with scissors or a scalpel
  2. Cryotherapy which involves freezing the skin tag with liquid nitrogen
  3. Ligation, or tying the base of the skin tag to block blood supply
  4. Electrosurgery or burning the skin tag with high-frequency electrical      energy

While natural remedies like apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil, and lemon juice are claimed by some to effectively remove skin tags, its effectiveness have yet to be validated.

When trying out these methods, be mindful of the risks of infection as well, especially for people with diabetes. Removing the skin tags yourself raises infection risks.

If your skin tags are caused by diabetes, a better option to avoid infection is to use stabilized insulin to prevent skin tags from frequently recurring. Furthermore, even if growths have not recurred yet you find new ones nearby, it may mean the root cause of the problem has not been treated.

If skin tags suddenly appear , see your healthcare provider especially if you have any other risk factors for diabetes including obesity or a family history of the disease.

If you choose to have your skin tags removed, always be aware of the risks of infection and let your doctor do the procedure.

Source: Healthline

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