Skin Tags: Why You Get Them and What You Can Do About Them

iStock 1266730467 1 If you are noticing more and more skin tags on your face and body, you may be wondering what is going on. These small growths are nothing to worry about in terms of your general health, but they sure can be frustrating. The medical term for skin tags is acrochordon or fibroepithelial polyp. The benign growths are just excess tissue, but tissue with a blood supply. Because of this, skin tag removal should be done by a doctor. Here, we discuss why you may be getting skin tags and what you can do about them. 

What, Exactly, Is a Skin Tag?

Skin tags are very common benign, fleshy growths. They are not moles and are usually not colored. They can occur anywhere on the body, even the face and around the eyes. More commonly, we see them in areas where skin touches skin and creates friction. These areas include the armpits, under the breasts, the inner thighs, and the groin folds. It isn’t necessary to remove skin tags, but many people want to because they can be cosmetically unappealing and, in some cases, may get inflamed or twisted, causing pain. 

What Causes Skin Tags?

If you have multiple skin tags, you may wonder why. There are certain factors that have been identified as relevant to the development of these growths. Heredity is one of them. If you have a family member, especially a parent or sibling, who has skin tags, your chances of also having them are naturally greater. Additional factors known to contribute to skin tag formation include:

  • Pregnancy. A woman’s body is in a state of continual growth during pregnancy. She is literally growing the tissue of another human being! This state alone can lead to skin tag growth. Add to that the condition of gestational diabetes, and a woman is very likely to see a few of these tags on her body. 
  • Weight. Skin tags are often caused by friction between two pieces of skin or the skin and clothing. Where there is more body weight, there is more friction. 
  • Diabetes. Scientists are certain why people with diabetes tend to have more skin tags than nondiabetics, only that this is common. It is thought that insulin resistance may have something to do with it. 

Treating Skin Tags

If you have skin tags and would like to treat them at home, the safest remedy may be to apply tea tree oil to the growth. This oil can get hot so the growth should not be covered once the oil has been applied. Another option to try is to apply apple cider vinegar to a small cotton ball, place over the growth, and then place a bandage over that. This may be left on for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. These remedies may or may not work. If they do, it is through consistent daily application over the course of at least a week. 

If you want faster results for your skin tags, come see us. A dermatologist can destroy skin tags by spraying them with liquid nitrogen. This treatment usually causes skin tags to fall off within a few days. The tag may also be snipped using medical scissors and lidocaine. Skin tags should not be cut off at home. This can hurt and may cause excessive inflammation due to the blood supply the growth receives. 

Skin tags don’t have to be an ongoing problem. For treatment, contact our Lake Charles dermatology office at 337. 477.0011.

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