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Skin tags are extra pieces of skin that stick out beyond the surface of the body. These small pieces of soft, hanging skin may have a stalk or a peduncle. Skin tags can develop on any part of the body but are more prominent in places where the skin rubs against clothing or skin. Skin tags have other names, such as cutaneous papilloma, fibroma molluscum, soft fibroma, and so on. Skin tags are common, and they tend to occur after midlife. It has been shown that they affect men and women equally.

What Are The Things You Need To Know About Skin Tags?

Below are some of the things you should know about skin tags. They include the following:

  • They are benign tumors of the skin.
  • They tend to occur more increases or folds of the skin.
  • They are not life-threatening, but they can be removed for aesthetic purposes and cosmetic reasons.
  • Some of the ways skin tags are removed include through excision, cryotherapy, over the counter therapies.

What Are Skin Tags?

Skin tags are benign tumors that develop on the surface of the body. They are harmless and are removed only for aesthetic purposes. They are non- cancerous. They consist of a core of fibers, ducts, fat cells, nerve cells, and epidermis. Skin tags may grow on parts of the body, such as the eyelids, armpits, groin area, upper chest, neck and so on. Skin tags can remain unnoticed for a long time unless they are somewhere conspicuous, or in places where they are consistently scratched or rubbed by clothing, jewelry. There are cases in which people affected with skin tags do not even notice. Big skin tags may burst under pressure.

What Does Skin Tags Look Like?

As earlier mentioned, skin tags develop on the skin and maybe smooth or irregular in appearance. They are often elevated from the surface of the skin and usually has a peduncle or stalk. They are freshly-colored or slightly brownish. These tags may start small, flattened like a pinhead bump, and may eventually grow bigger.

 The sizes of skin tags are usually between 2 millimeters to 1 centimeter. Studies have shown that there are skin tags that grow as long as 5cm.

What Are The Causes Of Skin Tags?

The exact cause of skin tags isn’t known yet. However, studies have shown that it may develop when clusters of collagen and blood vessels become trapped in thicker pieces of skin. Considering that they are more common in places such as skin creases, they may be mainly caused by skin rubbing against skin. In addition, studies have shown that some people tend to inherit an increased susceptibility to skin tags. As earlier mentioned, this benign skin tumor affects both males and females equally. However, they occur more during pregnancy, and in individuals that are obese, and also those affected with diabetes mellitus.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Skin Tags?

Majority of skin tags do not present with any sign or symptoms. They do not cause any pain, itch, or hurt. However, they may irritate the skin, especially when there is friction when the skin tag irritates the clothing or skin. Also, some people have skin tags in places that are uncomfortable, such as in on the neck, in the groin and so on. It’s essential to speak to a physician for treatment if it makes you uncomfortable.

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What Are The Factors Associated With Skin Tags?

It has been shown that there are some factors that increase the risk of developing skin tags. Some of them include the following:

  • Individuals that are overweight and obese.
  • Persons affected with diabetes mellitus.
  • Individuals with a sex-steroid imbalance, especially when there are alterations in the levels of estrogen and progesterone.
  • People with a family history of skin tags also have a high chance of developing this skin condition.
  • Persons with some types of human papillomavirus.

In addition, research has shown that skin tags are more likely to occur in the following people:

  • Obese people
  • Persons with high blood cholesterol levels.
  • Persons with high blood pressure.

Are Skin Tags An Early Sign Of Cancer?

Skin tags are benign tumors. This implies that they are harmless and are not an early sign of cancer. Discovering skin tags in the armpit, or on the neck can be disturbing, but you shouldn’t worry. They do not increase the risk of any type of cancer. Skin tags may appear together. As earlier explained, they can be the size of a grain of rice, can be smaller or larger. Studies have shown that about half of all people have developed a skin tag at one point in their lives.

Is It Important To Remove Skin Tags?

Skin tags are harmless, which is why there is no medical reason to remove them. In most cases, they do not grow bigger in size. It’s advisable to leave them alone if they don’t cause you any discomfort. Most people have them removed when they get annoying or for cosmetic reasons. You should consult your physician if you have a skin tag. There are some other skin conditions that appear like skin tags but are not it. Skin tags that have many colors bleed, or grows rapidly may need a detailed check, as it may be something dangerous.

How Is Skin Tag Treated?

Skin tags are harmless. Most people affected with this condition do have them removed, solely for aesthetic purposes. Removing a large skin tag from the face, or from under the arms to make shaving easier. Below are some of the ways skin tags are removed:

  1. Surgery: Some of the following procedures may be used in eliminating skin tags:
  • Cauterization: This involves the removal of skin tags by burning off using electrolysis.
  • Cryosurgery: This involves freezing off the skin tags by making use of a probe that contains liquid nitrogen.
  • Ligation: This is done by stopping the blood supply to the affected area.
  • Excision: This involves the removal of the skin tag with a scalpel.

The above-mentioned procedures should only be carried out by a dermatologist.


Kruyswijk, M., Jenner, T., Kemna, G., & Hove, B. (2008). FS07.4
Co-operation between dermatologist and occupational health physician. Contact Dermatitis, 50(3), 151-151. doi: 10.1111/j.0105-1873.2004.0309bt.x

Restaino, J. (2013). Drug Safety: Implications for the Dermatologist and Dermatopathologist. Seminars In Cutaneous Medicine And Surgery, 32(4), 195-198. doi:

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