What Are the Causes of Skin Tags?

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Skin tags are thought to be caused by skin rubbing against skin, according to Medical News Today, which is why they are often found in places where the skin creases or folds. Skin tags are benign growths of collagen and blood vessels that get trapped in bits of skin.

Most skin tags occur in the armpits or groin area, under the breasts and on the upper chest or neck, Medical News Today states. Skin tags are pieces of hanging skin, sometimes hanging from a stalk. Most are the same color as the patient’s flesh or a slightly browner color. They start out as small bumps on the skin and usually grow between 2 millimeters and 1 centimeter in diameter.

Most skin tags develop in middle age and later, Medical News Today reports. Other risk factors include being overweight or pregnant, having diabetes or human papilloma virus, and illegal steroid use. The National Institutes of Health reports 46 percent of people develop skin tags.

Skin tags are usually benign growths that do not cause any problems, Medical News Today says. Sometimes they are located in places in which clothing, jewelry or shaving may cause rubbing or scratching. Occasionally a skin tag fall offs on its own, but most do not.

Treatment for skin tags varies with their location on the body. If the tags are not visible, some people don’t get them treated at all, but if they show up in a place that harms a person’s appearance, having them removed is simple. Cryosurgery (freezing the skin so the tags fall off) and cautery (burning the tissue) are common options, reports Everyday Health.