Have you ever found a little bump along your skin that sticks out from a little stalk in your armpits, or by your eyelids? This little bump is a common skin growth called a skin tag. Skin tags are very common. They are usually small, either being smooth and round or wrinkly and asymmetrical.
Anyone can suffer from skin tags but they do become more common after fifty years old. Skin tags usually look like a little piece of skin that is hanging on by a tiny stalk. They are most common in areas like your armpits, groin, thighs, eyelids and neck. Though they can happen anywhere on your skin. Don’t be worried if you discover you have some skin tags, they are harmless and won’t turn into skin cancer. Skin tags should be painless, but if by accident you scraped one or picked at it, it can bleed.
The exact cause of skin tags is unknown but there may be some factors that play into who gets them. If you have a family history of skin tags in your family you may be more prone to getting them yourself. As well since skin tags appear in places that undergo a lot of friction, this could be part of what causes them. People also suffering from HPV, insulin resistance, type two diabetes, or a hormonal imbalance also show more skin tags. Excess skin tags is also a symptom of pregnancy. You can usually self diagnose skin tags. If you find one that is bigger than a couple millimeters in size you may want to consult your doctor to make sure that it is truly a skin tag.
Skin tags should be painless, so besides the annoyance, and the appearance of them there are not actual symptoms that go along with having a skin tag. You can choose to leave them alone or there are a few treatment options you can look into. There are a lot of home remedies you can try or you can consult your doctor if you have a lot, or your skin tags are bigger than normal to have those removed.
There are a couple of home remedies you can try that follow the same system, but you can change the product you use. You can use tea tree oil, apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice directly onto the skin tag. First you put a few drops of your choice of product onto a cotton swab, or cotton ball. Then you press the cotton swab up against your skin tag and secure it. Wait for about ten minutes then remove and discard the cotton swab. You can do this up to three times a day. This can help shrink the skin tags. If you have sensitive skin you may want to rub some vaseline, or coconut oil on the skin surrounding the skin tag.
Another home remedy you can try is finding something over the counter at your local pharmacy or drugstore. One over the counter option is a skin tag removal cream. You usually only have to apply once to the skin tags and they will fall off within two to three weeks. You can also purchase an over the counter freezing kit. This uses liquid nitrogen to put onto the skin tag and freeze it off. Make sure you read the directions of the kit to protect your skin surrounding the skin tag. With this method you may have to do multiple treatments to see results.
If you have dealt with skin tags before you can do self ligation at home. This is when you cut off the blood supply to the skin tag causing it to die and fall off. You can do this by wrapping a string or dental floss around the stem of the skin tag, tightening it every so often to make sure that blood flow is stopped. After blood flow has been removed for a few days the skin tag will just fall off. Another thing you can do at home is use sharp scissors or a blade to cut away the skin tag. Only do this with small skin tags, large ones can bleed too much.
If you prefer to not try these options, or you have tried them and they don’t work you can always reach out to your doctor. Your doctor can perform the freezing option, surgical removal which is just the doctor cutting away the skin tag, electrosurgery which is burning the skin tag off, or even ligation stopping the blood flow to the skin tag. With large skin tags it is best to get a doctor’s opinion on how to handle since they may not respond to home remedies and could cause a lot of bleeding if dealt with by yourself.
Skin tags are a harmless skin growth that is very common. There are more than three million reported cases per year. There are lots of ways to try and remove them at home or from your doctor. They will not turn into skin cancer though if left alone.
Don’t be worried if you discover you have some skin tags, they are harmless and won’t turn into skin cancer.
The HealthStatus editorial team has continued that commitment to excellence by providing our visitors with easy to understand high quality health content for many years.
Our team of health professionals, and researchers use peer reviewed studies as source elements in our articles.
Our high quality content has been featured in a number of leading websites, USA Today, the Chicago Tribune, Live Strong, GQ, and many more.