What Causes Skin Tags


what causes skin tags

For the longest time I had no idea why I was getting skin tags. For a while, it seemed these ugly things were popping up somewhere new every time I looked in the mirror. I know you can understand the frustration I was experiencing back then. I remember thinking, why I am getting them, and what causes skin tags.

What causes skin tags? There are 3 main causes of skin tags:

  1. Friction: Skin tags are associated with friction against the skin, either by other skin or by tight clothing and jewelry.
  2. Pregnancy Side Effects: Side effects of pregnancy including weight gain and pregnancy hormones are associated with skin tags. 
  3. Insulin Resistance: Numerous studies have shown an association between skin tags and insulin resistance.

There’s usually a reason why you are getting skin tags. This blog post explains the three most common causes in detail. Understanding the reasons why you are getting skin tags may help you get less of them in the future or none at all! In addition, I’ll let you know the different risk factors and habits you can start with right now, to help prevent more of them.

What Causes Skin Tags


The 1st cause of skin tags is friction created by skin rubbing against skin. This is often a side effect of being over weight and explains why skin tags often grow in body-fat skin folds. Skin tags often grow in the armpits, groin area, eyelids and neck because in these areas skin is constantly rubbing on other skin. This can happen even if you’re not overweight and can also cause irritation. If your skin tags are irritated and bothering you, you may want to read my blog post review right here about a removal method that’s natural and has removed skin tags in as little as 3 days.

Another way friction causes skin tags is repetitive friction against the skin by clothing. A dermatologist noted a pattern of skin tags on a patient’s skin along her bra straps. It was due to her job which involved repeated lifting of her arms. In addition, tight clothing especially around the neck and thighs, or tight jewelry can cause excess friction against the skin (resource).

what causes skin tags

Insulin Resistance

The 2nd cause of skin tags can be insulin resistance. A study as far back as 1976 (resource) showed a large percentage of hospitalized patients with type 2 diabetes had skin tags. According to a 2010 study (resource), the presence of multiple skin tags were associated with insulin resistance, a high level of body fat and fat cells in the blood. A third study of 216 patients (resource) found skin tags were linked with impaired carbohydrate metabolism. Because of insulin resistance, I wrote a blog post on how the Keto diet can help reduce skin tags. You may want to check it out by clicking here.


The 3rd cause of skin tags are a common side effect of pregnancy. This may be due to pregnancy hormones like estrogen and leptin. Numerous studies have shown an association between leptin and skin tags. Leptin increases during pregnancy particularly in the 2nd trimester which may explain an increase in skin tags at that time (resource). In one study (resource) they took biopsies from 15 patients with skin tags. The skin tags showed increased levels of leptin compared to the normal skin. Another study (resource) found an association between the presence of skin tags and serum leptin levels.

Another pregnancy hormone, estrogen, increases steadily throughout pregnancy. A study (resource) compared two groups, one with skin tags and one without. The results showed a possible connection between estrogen levels and skin tags.

Skin Tag Risk Factors

The following are risk factors that can cause skin tags:

  • Obese or overweight people.
  • People who have hormonal imbalances.
  • Those with a family history of skin tags.
  • People with Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) (resource).
  • Pregnant women because of hormone changes and gaining weight.
  • Diabetes or insulin resistance.

skin tag causes

How To Prevent Skin Tags

By following the habits listed below can help prevent skin tags, especially if you have one of the above risk factors.

Reduce skin friction: Avoid wearing tight clothing and jewelry. Wear clothing that is loose, especially around the neck, groin and underwear lines. Try to avoid repetitive movements like raising your arms over your head. These movements create friction against your skin so the less you perform them the better.

Reduce skin friction from other skin. Fat folds around your underarms, thighs and neck can cause more skin tags. Change your eating habits and perform about 20-30 minutes of physical activity to help reduce body fat. In addition, apply baby powder to skin areas that are rubbing like inner thighs and underarms.

Diet: By changing your diet can help improve insulin resistance which is proven to cause skin tags. Also, a better diet will help you lose weight and have less skin folds.


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Tom Johnson

Hi, I'm Tom Johnson, and I've spent years conducting extensive research, testing and have a passion for any topic related to skin tags. You can read more here About Me

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