Table of Contents
What are skin tags?
A skin tag is a non-cancerous skin growth that can occur anywhere on your body. Both men and women get them.
Symptoms of skin tags
A skin tag looks and feels like a hanging mole. It is usually a lighter color than a mole. They are commonly located on the neck, underarms, middle of the body, in folds of skin, eyelids, and inner thighs. They can appear in other areas of the body, as well. They usually don’t continue to grow or change color. While they are painless, they can hurt when they are irritated by clothes, jewelry, or skin rubbing together.
What causes skin tags?
No one knows what causes skin tags. However, they are common with age. They also are common in people who have diabetes and in people who are overweight. They also run in families.
How are skin tags diagnosed?
Your doctor can diagnose them by looking at them during an exam. See your doctor if your skin tag has changed color or grown.
Can skin tags be prevented or avoided?
Skin tags cannot be prevented or avoided.
Skin tags treatment
Sometimes skin tags fall off on their own as they get pulled and irritated. When this happens, they dry out, which makes them fall off. If they bother you, your doctor can remove them by:
- Cutting them off in the office.
- Freezing them off.
- Burning them off with a special device.
Generally, they don’t grow back in the same place. However, new skin tags can pop up in new places.
Living with skin tags
Living with skin tags is more of an annoyance. Depending on where they are located, they tend to get stuck in zippers, clothing, and jewelry. The pulling and tugging is uncomfortable.
Questions to ask your doctor
- Can I cut a skin tag off myself?
- Will they decrease with controlled diabetes?
- Are skin tags hereditary?
- Are skin tags more common with fair-skinned people?
Copyright © American Academy of Family Physicians
This information provides a general overview and may not apply to everyone. Talk to your family doctor to find out if this information applies to you and to get more information on this subject.