Itchy Skin Tags

Itchy skin tags are small growths, usually just a couple millimeters in size that happen to itch.  Skin tags are made up of blood vessels and collagen.  They are pendulated, which means they hang from the skin by a thin stalk and will usually appear on the neck, eyelids, armpits, and groin. However, skin tags can grow anywhere on the body though they are less likely to appear on your legs or feet. Skin tags have a number of reasons why they appear, but the predominant catalyst is friction.  They often appear in areas that skin rubs against skin, clothes or jewelry.

Why do skin tags itch

Irritated skin tag

Due to their small size, unless a skin tag appears in a prominent place like your eyes or face or in clusters, you may not even have realized you have a skin tag. Your first clue that you have a skin tag is that you may feel a slight itch and when you reach to scratch it, feel this small growth. Skin tags have no cause to itch, and yet sometimes, they do. The reason itching occurs on the skin is because skin and nerve cells get irritated, causing an itching sensation.

Itching, like any other sensory mechanisms such as pain or heat, serves an important function — it lets you know there is an irritant to your skin. Because skin tags hang from the skin, they can easily get irritated. Even just a t-shirt or skin rubbing against it can cause a skin tag to get irritated and itch. If it bothers you, you can remove the skin tag or try putting a band-aid over it and see if that helps.

If you have a skin tag that doesn’t come into contact with anything, but still itches, it could be for a few reasons

  • It possibly isn’t a skin tag
  • A new lotion or cream could be irritating it

If your skin tag is itching without these conditions, speak to your doctor.

Are itchy skin tags a sign of cancer?

Skin tags are harmless growths. They just appear on the skin and serve no particular purpose. The chances of skin tags being cancerous are 0.375%.  If you see a skin tag changing shape or becoming visibly irritated with redness or bleeding, you should check with your doctor.  This is not particularly because it may be cancerous, but because it may just be infected or getting too irritated in the position it sits and needs to be removed.

Removing itchy skin tags

If a skin tag is visibly irritated, don’t try removing it. If it is infected, you need to first wait for it to clear up and may require some antibiotic cream or pills. Once it has healed you can choose a removal method that works for you.

Natural Removal – Using a product like tea tree oil is a great option for removing skin tags that are itchy. It has antimicrobial and antibiotic properties that treat the skin while removing drying out the skin tag. Twice daily application of tea tree oil to the skin tag should dry it up and cause it to fall off.

CryosurgeryFreezing off a skin tag is known as cryotherapy or cryosurgery. It freezes the skin tag, causing it to turn white. Eventually, after a few days, the skin tag will just fall off. This can be done in the doctor’s office or in your own home.

Tying off – You can tie off a skin tag by cutting off its blood supply. Using Tagbands or dental floss you can tie the peduncle of the skin tag so that blood doesn’t pass through, cutting off the lifeline to the skin tag. After 3 – 7 days, the skin tag should fall off.