Sharing evidence for natural healing methods that work.
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:
• 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.
∆ Niacin (a cofactor for chromium): at
least 20 mg but no more than 100 mg, daily.
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
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
∆ 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.
"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