Skin Tags: Causes And Treatments

Skin Tags

The skin tag is one of the most common skin conditions.

Skin tags are relatively common and harmless. They are small, fleshy growths found on the body’s surface. Most often, skin tags develop in areas where there are loose skin folds, such as under the arms, neck, groin, or breasts. Skin tags usually appear as hard lumps resembling warts, although they are pinkish or light brown.

Most people don’t even notice their skin tags until they become large enough to cause discomfort.

Although they may be annoying, skin tags aren’t dangerous. If you’re concerned about them, talk to your doctor if you notice one that seems to be growing.

Here’s what causes skin tags and how to remove them.

What Is A Skin Tag?

A skin tag is an outgrowth of cells from the outer layer of skin. It looks like a wart, but it isn’t a virus-caused lesion; instead, it develops when some part of the skin becomes overgrown with extra tissue. In many cases, skin tags can grow very slowly for years before anyone notices them.

Although skin tags have no known connection to cancer, they sometimes turn into melanomas.

Causes Of Skin Tags

There isn’t a single known reason why skin tags form. The exact mechanism behind how skin tags form remains unknown. Scientists believe that skin tags begin as tiny bumps that gradually enlarge and spread across the affected area. Over time, these bumps merge to create larger masses.

Eventually, the entire mass will at ten against the underlying layers of skin. The exact cause varies from person to person. Some contributing factors include genetics, hormones, sun exposure, obesity, aging, pregnancy, birth control pills, thyroid problems, and allergies. Here are some other possible reasons for developing a skin tag:


People with certain genetic disorders have an increased risk of forming skin tags.

These disorders include neurofibromatosis type 1 and 2, tuberous sclerosis complex, Becker muscular dystrophy, Peutz–Jeghers syndrome, epidermal nevus syndromes, Sturge–Weber syndrome, hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia, Cowden disease, and others. One study showed that having NF1 increases your chances of getting skin tags by almost four times. People who have TSC also have an increased chance of developing skin tags.

Sun Exposure

Exposure to ultraviolet radiation has been linked to skin tags. Sunlight triggers changes within the DNA of skin cells, which leads to cell division and new growth. This process results in abnormal skin growth called hyperplasia. Hyperplastic lesions tend to occur more frequently on parts of the body exposed to sunlight, including the face, scalp, ears, hands, feet, legs, chest, back, shoulders, abdomen, buttocks, nipples, genitals, and perineum. However, not all types of skin tags result from excessive sun exposure. Other contributing factors include age, gender, ethnicity, family history, hormone levels, medications, nutrition, stress, smoking, alcohol use, physical activity level, occupation, and medical treatments.


Being overweight contributes to the formation of skin tags because excess weight puts pressure on the tissues underneath the skin.

Common Types of Skin Tags

The most common kind of skin tag is a vascular or spider angiofibroma. These are usually small, pinkish bumps that appear anywhere on the surface of the skin. They develop at any point during life. Most people don’t even notice them until they start growing more prominent. Vascular angiofibromas may be found on the neck, armpits, groin, breasts, underarms, toes, fingers, lips, eyelids, nose, cheeks, chin, forehead, arms, knees, ankles, calves, and thighs. Spider angiofibroma looks similar to what their name suggests – they resemble spiders crawling around on top of the skin. Unlike strawberry hemangiomas, spider angiofibroma does not contain blood vessels. Instead, they consist of fibrous connective tissue covered by skin.

Other skin tags include sebaceous cysts, pyogenic granulomas, lipomas, dermoid cysts, pilomatrixoma, trichilemmal cysts, hidrocystomas, keloids, papillomas, condylomas, verrucaevulgares, warts, molluscum contagiosa, acanthotic myxoepitheliomas, pigmented epithelial hamartomas, and dermatofibrosarcomas protuberance.

Treatments For Skin Tags

If you want to get rid of a skin tag, there are several options available. You might consider laser removal if it doesn’t bother you too much. If this treatment sounds appealing, make sure you find out what type of laser works best for treating skin tags. There are two main categories of lasers used to treat skin tags: ablative lasers and non-ablative lasers. Ablative lasers remove the outer layer of skin while leaving the deeper structures intact. Non-ablative lasers only heat the superficial layers of skin without damaging the deep system beneath. Both methods work well to reduce the size of existing skin tags. In addition, both techniques can help prevent future occurrences. Trained professionals should always perform laser therapy. It takes practice to perfect the method so that the procedure goes smoothly and causes no damage to surrounding areas.

Laser Therapy

Ablation therapies include CO2 and Er: YAG lasers. A CO2 laser removes the uppermost layer of skin using pulses of light energy. An Er: YAG laser uses high-powered bursts of infrared light to destroy the outer layer of skin. When combined, the two technologies produce excellent results when removing unwanted skin tags. Depending on the severity of the condition, one session could take less than 15 minutes. Afterward, patients need to follow a special regimen of care designed to minimize scarring.

What Does The Future Hold For Skin Tags Removal?

There have been some recent developments in the eld of skin tagging treatments. One of these involves the use of radiofrequency devices. RF technology has become increasingly popular over the years because it produces minimal side effects compared with other procedures. This method heats the underlying tissues instead of destroying them as traditional laser surgery does.

Radio frequency ablation also requires fewer sessions since it targets just the area where the problem exists. However, more research needs to be done before knowing how practical this new approach will be. Until then, you can still choose from many different options to eliminate your skintags once and for all.

The following article is intended as general information only and may not apply to everyone. Please consult your doctor or healthcare provider regarding any medical matter. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking professional advice because of something you read here.


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