If you suffer from skin tags, you're not alone. Skin tags are very common and look like small pieces of hanging skin. Although they are unsightly, they are almost always benign (i.e., not cancerous.) It is extremely rare for a skin tag to be cancerous (malignant).
Skin tags can form almost anywhere on the body where there is skin. It is very common for skin tags to form where your clothing rubs against your skin, or where your skin rubs against other skin. For example, many people develop skin tags on their neck, armpits, groin, and eyelids. Skin tags are also commonly found on women under their breasts where a bra underwire rubs against the skin. Women can also get vaginal skin tags and men can develop genital skin tags in their groin area.
Not all skin tags look the same. Some are flesh colored; others are darker than the surrounding flesh (hyperpigmented.) Some are flat; others hang off the skin by a stalk known as a peduncle. Some are wrinkled; others are smooth. Some may be as small as a pinpoint; others can grow to the size of a grape. Most are a few millimeters in diameter.
A Common Problem
Did you know that almost 50% of the population will develop a skin tag at some point in their life? (Myself included!) You are more likely to develop skin tags as you get older, although some kids will get them on their neck or armpits. From age 30 to age 60 is the most common time they arise and increase in numbers. Though the number of skin tags a person develops may increase during this time, it is important to note that they are not contagious like some types of warts - skin tags are simply a common skin abnormality.
Skin tags are also more common in overweight individuals, perhaps because of increased skin friction or rubbing. Hormone levels may also play a part in skin tag development. Many women report that they never had skin tags until they became pregnant and skin tags do seem to be more common on pregnant women.
In addition, there appears to be a genetic component to whether or not you develop skin tags. I guess it's not all that surprising that I've had skin tags before since my mom has had them too.
To Treat Or Not To Treat?
As I mentioned above, skin tags are very common and are not cancerous. They are also not a symptom of some larger underlying medical condition - completely healthy people develop skin tags too!
Technically, skin tags are a type of tumor (or growth) but because they are benign it is not necessary to remove them. There is no evidence to suggest that leaving a skin tag untreated results in cancer. Because they are benign and harmless, most medical insurance will not cover the removal of skin tags as it is considered an elective procedure.
Most people remove their skin tags for two reasons. The most common reason is cosmetic. People simply do not like the unsightly appearance of skin tags. The second reason is irritation. Skin tags can be a real nuisance on certain areas of the body. For example, skin tags on the neck or groin may become irritated by the constant rubbing of clothing. Vaginal skin tags can become irritated by sexual intercourse.
Skin Tag Removal
There are several ways to remove skin tags. Some methods must be performed by a doctor while others can be performed in the privacy of your own home without a visit to the doctor's office. There is too much information to put on this page so I have an entire page of information detailing how to remove a skin tag.
You can also learn about the top skin tag removers that I recommend.