Health One Family Medicine

What are Skin Tags?

Skin tags are small, soft protrusions found on the skin. They are composed of collagen and blood vessels and are different from warts as they hang off the surface. Skin tags are generally benign and do not indicate any serious underlying condition. In most cases, skin tags will bother an individual merely because of their unsightly appearance. They can also be physically irritating. Let’s take a look at the causes of skin tags and whether you should get them removed.

Causes of Skin Tags

The cause of skin tags is unknown. They usually occur among individuals who suffer from obesity or type II diabetes. They are also common among people who are more than 69 years old. The following factors have been associated with the appearance of skin tags:

  • Pregnancy – Fluctuation of hormone levels can cause skin tags to appear.
  • Friction due to multiple folds of skin – Skin tags can grow in areas such as your neck, groin, and axilla. The skin will rub against itself in these areas, which can cause skin tags to grow. This is also why skin tags are common in obese people.
  • Viral infections
  • Hyperinsulinemia – This is a condition where the body produces excess amounts of insulin. Since insulin is a growth-stimulating hormone, overproduction may cause skin tags.

Removal of Skin Tags

Although skin tags are harmless, you can have them removed. This is particularly important if your skin tags feel itchy or painful. If they snag on some jewelry, then they can result in a significant amount of bleeding.

Skin tags can be removed in three ways. These are:

  • Cryosurgery – This is a technique where the skin tag is removed by freezing with liquid nitrogen
  • Electrocautery – This is a technique where the skin tag is removed by applying heat and destroying skin tissue
  • Surgical removal

If you are opting for cryosurgery or electrocautery, your skin may discolor temporarily.  If the skin tag is not removed, you will require further treatment. Make sure you speak to a general practitioner for the removal of skin tags.

Note: NEVER try and remove a skin tag on your own. This can cause heavy bleeding. The area may be infected, as well.

Let’s Sum It Up

Skin tags are a type of skin condition where benign patches of loose skin appear on the body. There are multiple causes of skin tags. In most cases, they occur in people suffering from obesity, type II diabetes, or hyperinsulinemia. They can also appear if you are pregnant.

If you notice a skin tag growing on a specific area of your body, you must visit a general practitioner. Skin tags are usually harmless. However, you can remove them by freezing or burning off the skin tag. They can be surgically removed, as well.

If you require further advice on the removal of skin tags, book an appointment with a general practitioner at Health One Family Medicine.

Visit or call 469-208-9770 for more information.