What’s the deal with skin tags

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Skin Tags (Acrochordons) are common benign skin growths which are usually caused by the skin rubbing together.  They are generally light, or skin color toned, and can darken slightly over time.  Most skin tags measure in around 2-3 mm, although doctors have seen tags that have reached 3-5 cm long!  It is estimated that about half of all adults have at least one skin tag on their body at any time.

These small growths are harmless and can occur on anyone at any time, even babies occasionally, although obesity, diabetes, steroid use, pregnancy, and heredity do tend to play a part in deciding if you will develop skin tags.   It is not uncommon to have up to 100 tags on various parts of your body if you are prone to them.  They can develop anywhere on the body but generally occur where skin overlaps and rubs together to cause friction such as the armpits, neck, under the breasts and groin. 

Skin tags are completely safe and other than possible irritation from skin or clothing rubbing on the tag and irritating it, they cause absolutely no health concern.  Once they are there they generally will not go away, nor will they get larger over time.   Occasionally they will fall off but this is rare. They can be removed if they are bothersome, or you choose to do so for cosmetic reasons and seeing a doctor for removal is your best bet.  You may read some “how tos” on the internet such as burning them off, cutting them, or tying them off with string but these methods can be dangerous and may lead to scaring to the area if done incorrectly.  There are some over the counter treatments you can get to remove the tags but they can be quite pricy and their effectiveness is still up in the air.  So, unless they are causing you discomfort – just leave them alone!


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