Skin tags are common skin growths hanging from the skin’s surface on a thin piece of tissue called a stalk. It’s not entirely clear what causes skin tags, and there are no proven ways to prevent them. Some studies have shown that skin tags are more common in people who have diabetes or are overweight. Pregnancy may also lead to skin tags, most likely due to hormonal changes in the body.
Skin tags are frequently found in friction areas on the skin, such as the neck, underarms, under the breasts, eyelids, and other skin folds. They start as small, flesh-colored bumps that may go unnoticed, or they may grow and become irritated due to friction or pressure.
Can skin tags be removed?
Skin tags are not medically necessary removed. They are not harmful; however, some people find them unsightly and choose to have them removed. Skin tag removal can be accomplished via many different methods. Cryotherapy is commonly used, where a dermatologist freezes off the skin tag using liquid nitrogen. Another option is electrocautery, in which an electric probe or needle is used to burn off the skin tag. Snipping or excision, either with scissors or a scalpel, maybe a better option for larger skin tags. Because skin tag removal is considered cosmetic, insurance usually does not cover these procedures.
We do not recommend attempting to remove your skin tag at home. You run an increased risk of infection or scarring due to improper removal. Irritation and allergic skin reactions can also occur depending on how some individuals attempt it.
We recommend monitoring your skin tags for any changes in size, color, or areas of bleeding, as this may be more than “just a skin tag.” If you notice any of these, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your local board-certified dermatologist to have it evaluated.