Skin tags are small, benign growths that usually appear on areas of the body with skin folds, such as the neck, armpits, and groin. While they are harmless and not cancerous, some people opt to remove them for cosmetic reasons or due to irritation.
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What Do Skin Tags Look Like?
Imagine a tiny flap of skin hanging off your body. Skin tags are usually flesh-colored or slightly darker and range from the size of a pinhead to about the size of a grape. They often have a stalk-like base, connecting them to the skin’s surface. Although their appearance can be unsettling, rest assured they’re generally harmless.
Where Do They Commonly Appear?
You’ll most likely find skin tags in areas where skin rubs against skin or clothing. So, if you’re wondering where to check, start with these places:
- Under the breasts
Why Do Skin Tags Develop?
The exact cause isn’t crystal clear, but several factors can contribute. Friction is a big one, which explains why they often appear in skin folds. Other factors include:
- Age: They are more common as you get older.
- Genetics: If your family members have them, chances are you might get them, too.
- Hormone changes: Pregnancy or hormonal imbalances can trigger their growth.
Research suggests that conditions like obesity and diabetes may also increase the likelihood of developing skin tags.
Are Skin Tags Dangerous?
In most cases, skin tags are benign and pose no health risks. However, if you notice changes in color, size, or shape, or if they become painful, it’s a good idea to consult a healthcare professional. This is because, although rare, changes could signify a more serious skin condition.
How Are Skin Tags Diagnosed?
If you’re curious about skin growth, a healthcare provider can usually diagnose a skin tag with a simple visual examination. On occasion, a biopsy may be conducted to rule out other skin conditions.
Even though skin tags are harmless, you might want to get rid of them. Here are some methods to consider:
- Surgical removal
- Freezing (cryotherapy)
- Burning (cauterization)
According to various studies, these treatments are generally effective and have a low risk of side effects.
Should You Remove Skin Tags at Home?
While you might be tempted to snip them off yourself, it’s not advisable. Doing so can result in bleeding, infection, or scarring. If a skin tag is bothering you, the best course of action is to seek professional medical advice.
Frequently Asked Questions About Skin Tags
Can Skin Tags Turn Into Cancer?
No, skin tags are benign growths, meaning they are not cancerous. However, it’s always a good idea to consult a healthcare professional if you notice any changes in their appearance, such as size, shape, or color. In rare instances, such changes could indicate a different skin condition that may require further investigation.
According to dermatological studies, there’s no evidence to suggest that skin tags are precursors to skin cancer. So, while they might be a cosmetic concern, they’re not a health hazard in that regard.
Do Skin Tags Grow Back After Removal?
Generally, once a skin tag is professionally removed, it doesn’t grow back. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t develop new skin tags in the same area or other parts of your body. Research has shown that skin tags don’t typically regrow after professional removal methods like surgical excision, cryotherapy, or cauterization.
Are Skin Tags Contagious?
Nope, skin tags aren’t contagious. You can’t catch them from someone else or spread them through contact. Research has confirmed that skin tags are not viral or bacterial in nature, which means they can’t be transmitted from person to person.
Do Skin Tags Hurt?
Usually, skin tags are painless. However, they can become irritated or painful if they’re repeatedly rubbed or twisted due to friction from clothing or skin-to-skin contact. If a skin tag becomes painful, it’s wise to consult a healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis and treatment options.
Can Diet Affect Skin Tags?
While there’s no definitive link between diet and skin tags, some studies suggest that people with obesity or diabetes are more likely to develop them. Hence, a balanced diet may indirectly help in reducing the likelihood of getting skin tags. Research has linked metabolic conditions like obesity and diabetes to a higher incidence of skin tags, suggesting that dietary choices could have an indirect effect.
Further Reading: How to Get Rid of Skin Tags