What Causes Skin Tags on the Eyelid?

Skin tag on eyelid
Skin tag on eyelid

Understanding what skin tags are is important when looking at what causes skin tags on the eyelids. A skin tag is a small and soft skin growth which generally occurs in skin folds and creases such as eyelids, neck, armpits, under breasts, and around the groin. Skin tags are light to dark brown in color and common in diabetic patients and older people. Their size varies from a few millimeters to a centimeter and the number of skin tags can range from one to hundreds.

The skin tag consists of loose collagen fibers (a protein fiber that provides strength to the skin) and dilated capillaries. Although non-contagious and benign, many people choose to remove skin tags merely due to their physical appearance. At times when skin tags start to lack blood supply, they may fall off on their own. Since skin tags form in skin creases and folds, eyelids are a common place for them to develop.

Cause of skin tags on the eyelids

Scientists are still researching exactly what causes skin tags on the eyelids. Below mentioned are few causes and findings so far.

Skin chafing

Skin tags develop in fold areas. Eyelids are natural folds and therefore prone to developing skin tags. The continuous rubbing of the skin in the area results in bunches of blood vessels and collagen forming skin tags.   We also tend to rub our eyes more frequently than we may realize; when we are tired, waking up or if our eyes feel dry. This rubbing on the sensitive skin of our eyes adds to the possibility of skin tags forming.

Insulin resistance

The pancreas produces insulin, which acts as a pathway for glucose to enter cells. Insulin resistance occurs when the cells become resistant to the insulin and stop glucose from entering. Due to this, glucose accumulates in the blood vessels which is a primary cause of diabetes. As many diabetic patients develop skin tags, scientists believe insulin resistance to be a cause of eyelid skin tags.

Metabolic syndrome

Metabolic syndrome includes elevated blood pressure, high blood sugar, surplus body fat, and irregular cholesterol. A recent study found the existence of these issues in people with eyelid skin tags. The metabolic disturbance occurs due to the increased leptin concentration, especially amongst people battling weight gain and the elderly. As leptin hormones regulate appetite and energy balancing, its increased presence directly affects all body tissues and hence, becomes a cause of eyelid skin tags.

Less estrogen

Estrogen affects the skin among women to a great extent. With age the body produces less estrogen and the skin becomes oily and loses strength and elasticity. Due to this, the outer layer of the skin i.e. epidermis and the connective tissues starts to lose its strength. The eyelid becomes thinner and the overlapping of the skin causes skin tags to develop. As aging is natural in humans, eyelid skin tags aren’t uncommon in elderly people.

Hormonal fluctuations

Hormones play a major role in everyday activities. Known as the behavioral and physiological regulator,  hormones can adversely impact the body and your health if there are imbalances. A pregnant woman faces numerous hormonal changes including an increase in estrogen, oxytocin, and progesterone among others. These changes result in the appearance of skin tags on the body as well as eyelids.


Many reports concluded that genes are a determining factor in the cause of eyelid skin tags, and skin tags in general. Among other genetic factors, skin tags tend to run in the family. As genes have a direct correlation with hormone function, any increase or decrease in their production affects the skin, among other body parts, and can lead to the occurrence of skin tags on the eyelids.

Steroid usage

People across the world use steroids, a synthetic man-made chemical substance, to gain body mass. These steroids cause skin fiber to bind and grow out. This outgrowth takes the form of skin tags on the eyelid.

The technological advancement in science and medicine is providing more opportunities for scientists to researching and find the precise causes of eyelid skin tags. It is likely that in future, we’ll learn even more causes which will assist us in the prevention of skin tags and greater knowledge on how to remove skin tags. 


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