Found a new growth on your skin? You’re pretty sure it’s a skin tag but want to double check? Looking to remove a skin tag and need some advice? You have come to the right place. Our team of skin experts have compiled all the information you will need in one place to remove your skin tag and put your mind at ease.
Read on to learning more about skin tags and how to remove them.
What is a skin tag
Skin tags are soft pieces of hanging skin. They are usually connected to the underlying skin by a small and thin stalk called a peduncle. These are painless, non-cancerous growths on the skin that are common for both men and women. Especially once you hit 50!
Other medical terms we use include cutaneous papilloma, soft fibroma, acrochordon and fibroepithelial polyp. Some people refer to them as skin tabs although the most commonly used term is “skin tag”.
Skin tags are the result of clusters of blood vessels and collagen that get trapped inside thicker layers of skin. You will generally find them in skin folds or creases where skin rubbing against skin may cause a skin tag to form.
Skin tags are not unique to humans and can also develop on dogs and cats.
How to identify a skin tag
Skin tags have a pretty unique appearance and can usually be identified simply by observation. Unlike moles or other skin growths, these tags hang off the skin by a thin stalk. They are usually the same color as your skin or maybe a bit darker, depending on where it is and the blood supply to it. There is usually no need for lab testing. However, we believe that knowing the reason for their growth is advised, especially considering their prevalence in those with diabetes.
What causes skin tags
There is no one single cause associated with the occurrence of skin tags. Some people may inherit the gene and they tend to have an increased susceptibility. They also commonly occur during times of hormone elevations, which is why they are commonly seen during pregnancy.
Diabetes is probably one of the more known causes of skin tags. A recent study shows the presence of multiple skin tags related to insulin resistance, high-triglycerides, and a high BMI.
Skin tags may form on any part of the body. Although they are commonly found in places where the skin rubs against itself or an item of jewelry or clothing. Wearing tight clothes and repetitive friction is a common cause and even more so among people who are overweight.
Where do skin tags form
Most skin tags are found to develop in areas where the skin folds. Prevalence is higher among older people and those who are overweight.
However, there is no fixed area for a skin tag to occur. They can appear almost anywhere on the body. But there are certain areas that develop more frequently than others. These include –
Eyelids and the eyelash lines are one of the more common areas that skin tags are found.
Skin tag in this area is common among overweight people who have more folds in the neck area and people who wear jewelry often or high collared shirts leading to constant friction.
Tight fitting clothes result in the development of skin tags in the groin area. Active people may also find that the friction caused by movement, may cause some skin tags in this area. They are often mistaken for ingrown hairs but if the bump is more raised, then it is possibly a skin tag.
Pregnant women have an increased possibility of developing skin tags under the breast. This is due to the hormone fluctuation together with rapid breast growth. The general rubbing of bras in the area can also lead to developing skin tags.
People with Crohn’s disease are seen to have skin tags in their anal openings, commonly referred to as perianal skin tags.
Other common areas you may notice a skin tag include the armpits, upper areas of the chest, vaginal region and around the elbow where the skin tends to fold or rub more often.
Young children may develop them on their upper eyelids due to excessive rubbing of their eyes. Active teens may find them under their arms, due to the friction of the continuous movement.
Are skin tags contagious?
The good news is there has been no evidence indicating that skin tags are contagious. For a skin condition to be contagious, there has to be an identifiable cause such as a virus or parasite. Since skin tags are not a result of any virus, there is no possibility of them being contagious.
However, many times people confuse skin tags with warts, which result from the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), which is highly contagious. Considering skin tags are just trapped collegen cells, they don’t run the risk of being contagious.
Do skin tags come off on their own?
Some people are of the opinion that it falls off naturally, but we are sorry to say it is nothing more than a myth. Except in the case of skin tags that form during pregnancy. Unless the tag has been twisted or pulled, the chances of it falling off on it’s own are slim.
There is also a popular misconception that losing weight can help remove skin tags. You might benefit health-wise from the weight loss but it won’t actually cause a skin tag to fall off.. Losing weight, however, does help you prevent new skin tags forming. Skin tags which form during pregnancy usually fall off on their own after giving birth without requiring any removal techniques, but we are sorry to say, this isn’t always the case.
If you are looking to remove your skin tag, here are a number of natural remedies and over the counter medicinal options available if you would like to avoid paying doctors fees.
How to remove a skin tag
Since skin tags are painless and harmless there is no need to rush off to the doctor’s office to get it removed immediately. There are even several removal options to safely remove skin tags in the comfort of your home.
While there are certain medical methods to remove skin tags like cauterization, ligation, excision, and cryosurgery, you can safely remove them with products you already have in your kitchen or medicine cabinet. Some of the simple and commonly used home remedies include:
- Tea Tree Oil – The antifungal and antiviral properties of this product makes it one of the safest removal techniques for skin tags.
- Apple Cider Vinegar – When applied to the affected area, its acidic property breaks down the tissue in the surrounding skin, causing the skin tag to fall off.
- Garlic – When crushed garlic is applied over a skin tag it gradually shrinks it and falls off.
- Banana Peel – Placing banana peels daily over a skin tag can cause it to dry out and eventually fall off.
- Mirco Tagbands – This is an easy to apply elastic band, that gets tied around the base of the skin tag. It cuts off the blood supply, causing the skin tag to easily fall off.
- Skin Tag Removal Creams – There is a range of over the counter creams you can buy to apply to your skin tag to safely remove them at home.
Does removing a skin tag leave scars?
The possibility of a skin tag leaving scars on the skin after being removed is dependent on the location of the tag, the size of it and the removal method chosen. The larger the skin tag and the thicker the stalk, the greater the possibility of scarring.
Moreover, removing the skin tag just by pulling or chopping it off increases the risk of scarring. If going the surgical route, there is a possibility of a minor scar but it will gradually fade away, especially if proper post-operative care is taken.
There are other at-home remedies available. Such as tying off the skin tag to stop the blood supply to it, causing it to fall off. This can lower the possibility of scars forming, depending on the size of the skin tag. We don’t recommend this for large skin tags.
Will my skin tag come back after being removed?
Once a skin tag has been removed it does not grow back. However new one may develop in the same spot or in the surrounding area. A skin tag has nerve cells but does not have any roots which is why they don’t regrow once removed. Since skin tags have a tendency of developing in friction-prone areas they tend to form in the surrounding area repeatedly. This may create the illusion that it is the same one growing back, but it is really a new skin tag forming.