Skin tags can be alarming and unsightly. Many people with skin tags erroneously believe they may be something more serious — such as warts or melanoma. Skin tags are medically insignificant, but they may cause discomfort or impact self-esteem.
If you’ve recently noticed or have been dealing with skin tags, we’ve got answers to questions you may have.
Are skin tags dangerous or pre-cancerous?
No. Skin tags are harmless and usually aren’t painful. They aren’t indicative of any other underlying health problems.
What’s the difference between skin tags and warts?
- Skin tags are soft and smooth, while warts tend to be irregularly shaped and have a rough or bumpy surface.
- Skin tags protrude and hang off the skin, but warts are usually flat or only slightly raised off the surface of the skin.
- Warts are contagious and spread quickly, whereas skin tags do not. A sudden outbreak is more likely to be caused by warts than by skin tags.
What causes skin tags?
There are numerous reasons why people develop skin tags, and some people may develop them for no reason at all. Skin tags are most common in people with diabetes, those who are overweight, pregnant women and older populations. Skin tags often occur in areas where skin comes into contact with clothing or rubs against other skin, which is why skin tags affect overweight people who have excess folds of skin.
Can I remove skin tags myself?
Yes. You can remove small skin tags at home through one of two methods. First, try tying dental floss around the base of the skin tag. This will cut off the blood supply to the skin tag and cause it to drop off. If that doesn’t work, you may opt to cut off the skin tag using fine, sterile scissors. It’s not recommended that you cut off large skin tags at home, as they’ll bleed heavily.
When should I see a doctor about skin tags?
If you have unsightly skin tags in sensitive places, such as eyelids or armpits, you may wish to have your doctor surgically remove your skin tags. Additionally, if skin tags repeatedly catch on clothing and jewelry, causing bleeding, you should seek treatment to remove them. Be advised that skin tag removal is considered a cosmetic procedure and will likely not be covered by your insurance.
Hopefully this has cleared up some of your questions about skin tags. For more information, or if you have additional concerns, contact your general practitioner.