March 25, 2015
What Your Skin is Trying to Tell You

Check out Dr. Michael Stone's recent interview in Experience Life Magazine! In this article, 4 functional medicine physicians explain how skin can sometimes be the proverbial canary in the coal mine. Often other imbalances in your body can manifest on your skin, and here they describe functional ways to address skin issues. In his section on Skin Tags, Dr. Stone describes what skin tags mean and what tests he orders to find out more about your health.

Skin Tags

Small, sac-like protrusions found on the neck or eyelids, under the breasts or armpits, or around the groin.

What might be causing them: Blood-sugar and hormonal problems.

There's at least one good thing about skin tags, according to Michael Stone, MD, MS, a functional practitioner in Ashland, Ore.: "If you figure out the cause and respond appropriately, you might just prolong your life."

Stone explains that skin tags can form when high blood-sugar levels drive an increase in our epidermal growth factor, which controls how fast certain areas, or what doctors call "islands," of skin grow. They can be a sign of insulin resistance, a condition where cells don't respond properly to the insulin that normally helps them absorb blood sugar.

Some experts estimate that up to 75 percent of the U.S. population has insulin resistance. And it's connected to metabolic syndrome, a group of traits linked to obesity and diabetes.

When Stone evaluates skin tags, he looks far beyond the skin. He also considers the amount of fat a patient carries around the waist, since an apple-shaped silhouette indicates that the body is converting glucose into visceral fat instead of using it for necessary body functions. He tests for fasting blood sugar and fasting insulin, and administers a two-hour glucose-tolerance test. He discusses the patient's history, finding out when the patient started noticing the skin tags and what life events were taking place at that time.

For the full article, click here.