With skin tags being such common skin growths, it is no wonder there are all sorts of myths and questions flying around about what having skin tags means and how to remove them. We have put together a list of the 10 most common skin tag myths and answered them for your with some facts.
Skin Tag Myths #1: Skin tags are contagious
This myth was most likely populated due to many people confusing skin tags and warts. Warts are caused by HPV (Human Papalimovirus), which is a virus and therefore contagious. Skin tags are not caused by any virus or parasite. The pathology of skin tags shows that some (less than half) do contain some HPV, but in order for skin tags to be deemed contagious HPV would need to proven to be a virus found in all skin tags. The strains of HPV found in skin tags are very low-risk strains.
Skin Tag Myths #2: Skin tags are cancerous
Anytime we have a new growth on our skin, our minds jump to our first fear, which is cancer. This is probably why this is such a common question. Let’s put that to rest once and for all. Skin tags are not cancerous. It is however always important to pay attention to your skin. Any change in shape, size or color of any type of skin growth should be checked by your doctor. If you find that your skin tags is bleeding or causing you irritation, have it checked by your GP or dermatologist, but there is no need to go in there worrying it is cancer.
Skin Tag Myths #3: Skin tags are difficult to remove
Due to the fact that skin tags are harmless benign growth, many people choose to just leave them. They sometimes don’t even know they are there. However, they do also appear in more visible places such as the face or in areas where they can be easily irritated and can cause them to bleed. Wanting to remove skin tags is a common urge, but many people don’t because they think it will be expensive, painful or difficult. Smaller skin tags are really quite easy to remove and can be done using a choice of over the counter products or even natural home remedies. For larger skin tags or skin tags in sensitive areas, consult with your doctor before removing them yourself.
Skin Tag Myths #4: Skin tags cannot be prevented
We always say prevention is better than cure and the same applies to skin tags. Skin tags are caused by a variety of possible factors such as skin friction, diabetes, hormone fluctuation, and weight gain. By countering these factors, it can go a long way to prevent skin tags. Reducing your sugar intake, dropping some weight, using anti-friction powders and wearing loose-fitting clothing can all help to prevent these annoying little growths. In some cases, skin tags are just caused by genetics. There are not too many options available to prevent skin tags that appear for this reason.
Skin Tag Myths #5: Removing skin tags causes more to grow
It is easy to think that removing a skin tags causes more to grow. This is usually because some people may have a genetic predisposition to skin tags. Also, skin tags will commonly grow in the same areas that experience a lot of friction such as skin folds or where your clothes rub. So removing a skin tag does not mean that no more will appear, but just rather than new skin tags are growing in the same areas.
Skin Tag Myths #6: Skin tags only appear on older people
Although skin tags are more prevalent in older people, they by no means only affect older people. As we get older, our skin becomes more supple and it is easier for the collagen fibers to get trapped in little skin pockets, causing skin tags. Aging also causes hormonal changes and affects our health. Diabetes can become a more common risk. All of these factors add to the possible development of skin tags. However, these issues also affect younger people and skin tags can develop at any age.
Skin Tag Myths #7: Removing skin tags causes scarring
There are many ways to remove skin tags. Smaller skin tags can easily be removed at home. Many of the techniques cause the skin tag to lose its blood supply, die and fall off. Because the skin tag is hanging by a thin stalk, it will just disappear without leaving a scar.
Very large skin tags can be a different story though. They do sometimes grow larger than normal and in these cases, should be taken care of by your dermatologist. Depending on the method they use, a small scar may remain. You can use Tea Tree Oil to help treat any minor scarring.
Skin Tag Myths #8: Only overweight people develop skin tags
As obesity and weight gain are one of the most common factors that cause skin tags, many people think that is it only overweight people that develop them. Weight gain leads to hormone fluctuation, increased risk of diabetes and the possible development of more skin folds. All these factors mean you may see more skin tags on overweight people, but each of those factors alone can cause skin tags, even if a person is not overweight.
Skin Tag Myths #9: Removing skin tags requires a trip to the doctor’s office
There are many options to remove skin tags these days. Most skin tags are small and can actually easily be removed at home. There are a number of natural home remedies, which can be used to patiently remove skin tags. If however, you would like to speed up the process a bit, you can try one of the many over the counter options available to remove your skin tags at home.
Skin Tag Myths #10: Skin tags are a definite sign of diabetes
It is true that skin tags can be a sign of pre-diabetes, but this is not the case with all skin tags. As we mentioned skin tags can appear due to a multitude of factors. Diabetes is just one of them. If you develop a skin tag, there is no reason to panic. If you find that multiple skin tags are appearing at once, it is worth a visit to your local doctor or nurse to have your sugar/insulin levels checked.