Skin tags are small growths that hang off your skin. They’re common and harmless, but can be removed if they’re bothering you.
SYMPTOMS OF SKIN TAGS
Skin tags are small, soft, skin-coloured growths on your skin. They can vary in colour and size – from a few millimetres up to 5cm (about 2 inches) wide. Skin tags are usually found on the neck, armpits, around the groin, or under the breasts. They can also grow on the eyelids or under the folds of the buttocks. Skin tags do not usually cause any pain or discomfort.
They can look like warts, but skin tags are usually:
- smooth and soft (warts tend to be rougher with an irregular surface)
- knobbly and hang off the skin (warts are usually slightly raised or flat)
- not contagious (warts spread very easily, so a sudden outbreak or cluster of growths is more likely to be warts)
CAUSES OF SKIN TAGS
Skin tags are made of loose collagen fibres and blood vessels surrounded by skin. Collagen is a type of protein found throughout the body. Both men and women can develop skin tags. They tend to occur in older people and people who are obese or have type 2 diabetes. Pregnant women may also be more likely to develop skin tags as a result of changes in their hormone levels. Some people develop them for no apparent reason.
Skin tags tend to grow in the skin folds, where the skin rubs against itself, such as on the neck, armpits or groin. This is why they tend to affect overweight people who have excess folds of skin and skin chafing.
PREVENTION OF SKIN TAGS
Prevention of skin tags on the neck, back and side of the neck are the two most common areas that are prone to friction from clothes, movement and the accumulation of sweat and dirt. Therefore, clothes that are too tight should be avoided.