Skin tags are small, skin-colored growths that hang off your skin, and they are typically found on the armpit, neck, under-breast, and groin areas. They can also appear under the folds of your buttocks, on the eyelids, and the arm near the elbow. From the point of view of a person talking to you, most skin tags aren’t easily visible. Their sizes vary from a few millimeters wide to as much as 5 centimeters.
Are skin tags the same as warts? While tags look like warts, they are different in terms of visual details. Tags are usually soft and smooth and have a knobbly hanging characteristic, while warts are typically irregularly shaped, rough, and either flat or slightly raised. They also do not cause any discomfort or pain. More importantly, skin tags are not contagious, whereas warts are. If you see a cluster of tiny skin growths on your skin, those are most likely warts.
If you’re worried about finding tags on your skin, there’s no reason to worry because these are usually benign and will not grow further. However, continually picking on them can eventually irritate. More likely, they might make you feel self-conscious about your skin. You can choose to have them removed by a dermatologist with little to zero side effects.
The direct cause of skin tag development is unknown, though doctors have observed these to form when clusters of blood vessels and collagen get trapped inside the skin. Collagen is a kind of protein that naturally occurs in the human body. Notice that they usually appear in folds or skin creases, so it could also result from skin constantly rubbing against skin. This is why many of those who report having skin tags are overweight or have type 2 diabetes. The large areas of friction are a huge factor in developing them.
In some cases, being prone to having skin tags is hereditary. It also knows no gender, although pregnant women are more likely to develop them in response to changes in one’s hormonal levels. As mentioned, skin tags’ direct cause is unclear, especially as some people do develop them for no apparent reason.
Skin tags are generally harmless and are not a cause for a medical emergency. However, they can become pretty unsightly and bothersome, so those who have a lot of these on their bodies tend to go the clinical route and have these removed. It can get pretty uncomfortable if your tags snag on your jewelry or clothes, so getting them cosmetically handled is a typical response. In addition, having too many skin tags, especially on your face and neck, can affect your self-esteem.
Will They Grow Back?
No, when you have your skin tags removed, they will not grow back. However, you can still develop them in the same or other areas, eventually due to constant friction. Skin tags can also fall off even without your intervention, particularly if the hanging tissue has twisted and dried up due to lack of blood supply.
When You Need to Visit a Doctor
You need to visit a doctor (dermatologist) if you want to have your skin tags removed. Although they are harmless, it is not advisable to remove a tag without first consulting your physician. This is because skin tag removal is generally clinically classified as cosmetic surgery. Your doctor or will apply a local anesthetic to the area before surgically removing it, or he/she can freeze or burn the tag off using lasers and other special tools.
Note that if you choose to have your skin tags removed via burning or freezing, the area will be irritated and discolored for a while. Such procedures also do not guarantee that your tag will be gone immediately. If such is your case, then surgery might be necessary. This procedure will eliminate your skin tags completely, though expect some minor bleeding on the area shortly after. After the procedure, your doctor will prescribe some ointments and medications (as needed) to help you manage the small wounds and prevent further irritation.