Skin tags are outgrowths of normal skin. They are usually smaller than a pencil eraser in diameter and grow on a pedicle or stalk. They are sometimes called fibroepithelial polyps or acrochordons. Whatever you call them, they are harmless skin growths that typically do not hurt or itch. Almost 50% of the adult population has at least one skin tag and the chance of developing one increases with age.
Although the exact cause isn’t known, they are commonly seen in overweight and obese individuals and in people with diabetes. They also seem to have a genetic component as they tend to run in families. Skin tags are commonly found in the armpits, around the base of the neck, underneath the breasts and in the groin creases. But they can be found anywhere on the body.
- Skin tags are not contagious.
- Removing them does not cause them to grow back.
- Skin tags are benign, non cancerous growths.
- They are not a sign of underlying disease.
- Skinny people and children can also get skin tags.
Skin tags do not NEED to be removed but can be if they become irritated or even if the individual deems them unsightly. Because there are no medical reasons to remove otherwise healthy skin tags, many private insurers will not cover the removal of these benign growths.
Skin tags can be removed quite easily in a dermatologists office. Although many people attempt to remove them at home, this is ill advised as doing so may lead to infection, prolonged bleeding and discomfort. In addition, never assume any growth is a benign tag. Allow a skin expert to evaluate any change in your skin before attempting to treat it yourself.