What Causes Skin Tags?

Written by mary rose
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Skin tags are harmless bits of extra skin that can grow on a person's body. They can grow on anyone, regardless of age or gender. Removal is common for cosmetic reasons, and can usually be done in an outpatient setting.

What Are Skin Tags?

A skin tag is an extra piece of skin that appears to be hanging from your body by a stalk or a thread. They can be as small as the head of a pin or as large as a grape. Skin tags are medically known as acrochordons or cutaneous papilloma. They can be flesh-coloured or a bit darker than the skin tone. Skin tags may be smooth and round, or wrinkled and irregular. Most skin tags are harmless, but removal is common for cosmetic reasons. The direct cause of skin tags is unknown. The following are thought to contribute to the growth of skin tags: pregnancy hormones, insulin resistance caused by diabetes, human papilloma virus, steroid use and chafing from skin rubbing together.

Who Gets Skin Tags?

Anyone can get skin tags. They are more common in adults, but children can get them, too. The older a person gets their likeliness to get skin tags increases. Overweight people are more likely to have tags, as they are thought to grow in areas of friction. Skin tags are thought to be hereditary.

Where Do Skin Tags Grow?

As mentioned above, skin tags are thought to grow in areas on the body where there is a lot of rubbing or friction. Most skin tags form on the neck, under the arms, under the breasts for women, or on the eyelids. Tags can also form near the groin, on the torso and on the back.

What Problems Do Skin Tags Cause?

Even though skin tags are a type of tumour, they are not known to be cancerous. The only real problems that come from having a skin tag are when they get irritated or caught on clothing or jewellery.

Treatment of Skin Tags

Treatment for skin tags is mainly for aesthetic reasons. Having an extra piece of skin may be considered unsightly or embarrassing to the person who has one. A doctor may remove a skin tag by cutting it off or freezing it. Having a skin tag removed is an easy process and if the tag is very small, it may even be done without local anaesthesia. It is not thought that having a tag removed will cause more to grow. Home remedies of tumour removal include using a piece of string or dental floss to tie off the tumour and let it fall off on its own. Scissors are also used for instant results. Cutting a tag off may cause bleeding. If you attempt to cut or tie off a skin tag, be sure to watch for signs of infection (redness, swelling, pain).

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