If you've ever had a skin tag, you know that they are annoying little growths, but do you know why they happen?
Many people who have had a skin tag didn't know what it was, they just wanted it gone. But before you start trying to get rid of any of them that appear, you should always know what's causing them in the first place, and what they really are.
What is a skin tag?
A skin tag is a raise bump or flap, that are often called "acrochordons" or "cutaneous tags" by dermatologists.
Here's the one good thing about skin tags, while they are not the best looking little imperfections, they are completely harmless and have no symptoms.
A lot of people don't even notice they have one for a very long time because they tend to grow in areas that aren't easily visible. They usually appear in creases of the skin, like in the underarm, groin, under the breast, and neck.
Why do skin tags happen?
Dermatologist Bruce Kats revealed why they happen in the places that they do.
“They often occur in areas of friction, like around the neck, under arms, and by the groin and are thought to be caused by irritation from skin rubbing on skin or on clothing,” he said. They can also happen on your eyelids.
They are also genetic, so if your parents get them, you are more likely to get them. Another common factor is obesity, likely because there is more skin that can rub. As you get older, usually over 50, your likelihood of getting skin tags increases.
So how do you actually get rid of skin tags?
Listen, I get it. Just because they aren't technically harmful doesn't mean that you don't want to remove them from your body.
Even though they seem almost like something that is barely attached, it's still important to do remove them properly should you chose to.
A lot of people remove them because they keep getting inflamed or irritated by constant rubbing against clothes or skin. However, dermatologists warn you not to use those "DIY" methods you see online.
Some websites recommend tying off a skin tag with a string and over time it'll fall off, but Kats warns that it could leave scarring or become infected.
There are also some kits you can buy at the pharmacy or online that freeze a skin tag, causing it to fall off safely within a week or two. However, should you chose this method it's still recommended to see a doctor before you go ahead with the treatment to confirm it's safe.
The well-known brand CompoundW sells a skin tag removal system that is dermatologist recommended, but you should still check with your doctor or dermatologist in person first.
The other option is to have your dermatologist remove it in person with a simple procedure. Usually it can be done in a very short time and doesn't require a lot of down time. They can snip it right off, cauterize the wound and stitch it back up so you won't even be able to see a scar.
But if they don't bother you, there's nothing about them that suggests you HAVE to remove them, it's totally personal preference.