Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Natural Remedies for Skin Tags

Many people have the benign tumors of the skin known as skin tags. They seldom become malignant, but they can get caught in zippers and elastic bands, and they are unsightly. Here, from my book Healing without Medication, are some natural approaches to dealing with them.

What Are the Symptoms of Skin Tags?

∆          Soft, fleshy growths of excess tissue each with a narrow base that hang from the

skin of the:

•           Armpits

•           Eyelids

•           Groin

•           Neck

•           Creases between “love handles”

Understanding the Disease Process

Skin tags, known in the medical literature as acrochordons, are benign tumors of the skin that occur in nearly half of the population. These growths are typically tiny, less than 2 millimeters (1/10 of an inch) in diameter, but occasionally skin tags grow as large as 5 centimeters (2 inches) around. Taking on the color of the skin, skin tags almost never become malignant and are primarily a cosmetic concern, unless they are repeatedly caught in folds of clothing or zippers.

             Unlike other kinds of warts, skin tags are an outward manifestation of insulin resistance, an inability of cells throughout the body to process sugar. Skin tags form on areas of skin that get the least circulation of blood. The combination of poor circulation and insulin resistance deprives these skin cells of adequate insulin, so they are never able to “climb” to the surface of the skin and complete a normal life cycle. Diabetes is 4 times as common in people who have skin tags as it is in people who have clear skin.

Treatment Summary

To prevent skin tags:

          Alpha-lipoic acid: 200 mg daily.

          Chromium (from brewer’s yeast): 1,000 microg daily.

          Niacin (a cofactor for chromium): at least 20 mg but no more than 100 mg, daily.

To treat skin tags:

          Bloodroot: Alpha Omega Bloodroot Ointment, used as directed on the label.

Understanding the Healing Process

In the long run, preventing future formation of skin tags is a matter of reducing insulin resistance, or in diabetics, controlling blood sugars. Alpha-lipoic acid reduces the concentration of a blood sugar byproduct known as fructosamine. This chemical attaches to proteins in the skin, interfering with normal shedding of the skin, and is a contributing factor in diabetic kidney disease. The supplement also stops the process that robs fat cells underlying the skin of their sensitivity to insulin during the earlier stages of diabetes. Laboratory experiments with animals have found that alpha-lipoic acid lowers blood pressure and helps muscle tissues absorb glucose from the bloodstream, although it is of limited benefit once insulin sensitivity has been established through exercise. Alpha-lipoic acid does not interfere with medications commonly prescribed for diabetes, and can be taken in dosages of up 1,200 mg per day without side effects.

            People who have insulin resistance serious enough to cause skin tags tend to excrete chromium into their urine. Experiments with animals have found that supplemental chromium is particularly helpful when blood sugars are especially high, so high that the body has begun to break down proteins inside cells because it cannot use insulin to transport glucose into cells. These experiments have also shown that chromium helps insulin resistance and high blood sugars caused by stress.

            Chromium that is derived from brewer’s yeast is more beneficial than inorganic chromium, although neither form has an immediate effect on skin tags. The key to successful use of chromium may be making sure that the body has an adequate supply of its cofactor niacin. At least one study found that taking chromium by itself had no discernible effect on diabetes, but taking both chromium and niacin lowered fasting blood sugars by 7 percent and reduced overall blood sugars (the total amount of glucose in the bloodstream over a 28-day period) by 15 percent—an enormous benefit. No scientific study has directly confirmed the benefits of this combination on diabetic skin, although many diabetics who have skin tags report that taking both supplements seems to help. Since high dosages of niacin can cause increased sensitivity to sunlight and sunburn and aggravate hot flashes or rosacea, be sure not to take more than 100 mg per day.

            The advantage of using alpha-lipoic acid, chromium, and niacin in treating skin tags is that, over a period of 2–3 months, they keep new skin tags from forming. The drawback of using alpha-lipoic acid, chromium, and niacin in treating skin tags is that they do not remove existing skin tags. The potent herbal skin treatment bloodroot is useful for this purpose.

            Bloodroot contains an orange-red latex that oxidizes to a dark brown or black when exposed to the air. This sap is used as a “black salve” to treat skin growths of various kinds. Bloodroot pastes will remove skin tags, but left on the skin too long, they will also remove healthy skin. In a few cases, inappropriate use of bloodroot has caused permanent scarring. Never use bloodroot around the eyes, mouth, nose, ears, anus, or genitals, and never take bloodroot internally. The maximum area of skin that should be treated with bloodroot is a 2-inch square (4 square inches, or 25 square centimeters). As little as 1 gram (1/30 of an ounce) of bloodroot taken by mouth can cause vomiting.

            A safe formulation of bloodroot called Alpha Omega Bloodroot Ointment is manufactured by Alpha Omega Labs. Follow the label directions, and keep the skin tag covered with a bandage until you wash off the ointment.

Concepts for Coping with Skin Tags

          Skin tags are the same color as surrounding skin or slightly darker. If a skin growth you believe to be a skin tag begins bleeding, changes color rapidly, or hurts, see a physician for a proper diagnosis.

          Doctors may remove skin tags with sharp scissors, a sharp blade, or less commonly by freezing or burning off at the stalk. Bleeding is usually stopped by cauterizing the skin with an electrical needle or by packing the wound in aluminum chloride. Healing after this procedure usually takes 3–4 weeks.

Image Credit:
"NeckAcrochordons" by Jmarchn - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:NeckAcrochordons.jpg#/media/File:NeckAcrochordons.jpg

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the FANTASTIC post! This information is really good and thanks a ton for sharing it :-) I m looking forward desperately for the next post of yours..
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