It is not clear exactly what causes skin tags, but it may happen when clusters of collagen and blood vessels become trapped inside thicker pieces of skin. As they are more common in skin creases or folds, they may be mainly caused by skin rubbing against skin.
When should I be worried about a skin tag?
Most of the time, skin tags are just an annoyance. “If it’s truly a skin tag, then it’s of no concern,” Dr. Ng says. “However, when skin tags are twisted, irritated, or bleeding, this might be a good reason to see a doctor.”
Can a skin tag turn into skin cancer?
Skin tags are not cancerous and do not have the potential to become cancerous. Nearly half of all adults in the United States have one or more skin tags. Skin tags contain loosely arranged collagen fibers and blood vessels encased in a thicker or thinner surface layer of the skin, or the epidermis.
People with metabolic disorders like obesity and diabetes are also more likely to develop skin tags. Skin tags are common growths that appear on the surface of the skin. Also known as soft fibromas or acrochordons, these benign tags resemble small, soft bumps.
In some cases, skin tags will regrow and need to be removed again. If you’re overweight, losing weight won’t make your existing skin tags go away. It may help reduce your risk of developing more. If you have a skin growth that bleeds, itches, or changes color, contact your doctor immediately.
What happens if you accidentally pull off a skin tag?
Never attempt to remove a skin tag on your own: while a smaller piece of excess flesh can be accidentally scraped away by a razor or fingernail and may cause very little pain or bleeding as a result, you still put your body at risk of infection or noticeable scarring.
For example, they may suggest tying off the base of the skin tag with dental floss or cotton to cut off its blood supply and make it drop off (ligation). Never attempt to remove large skin tags yourself because they’ll bleed heavily.
Soak a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar and place it on top of the skin tag. Place a bandage over the cotton ball to keep it in place for 15-30 minutes. Remove and wash the area. Do this daily until the skin tag falls off.
Thrombosed skin tags typically may fall off on their own in 3 to 10 days and don’t require additional treatment. Skin tags that have changed color or bleed may require your doctor’s evaluation and reassurance. Rarely, thrombosed skin tags may be a sign of another condition and need to be biopsied.
Can HPV look like a skin tag?
Share on Pinterest The HPV virus typically causes genital warts. Growths that look like skin tags on the genitals may actually be genital warts. Genital warts are typically caused by the HPV virus. Some forms of HPV can increase a person’s risk of cancer, so a doctor may test the warts to determine the type.
Cutting off a skin tag with scissors yourself can lead to infection or uncontrollable bleeding, which may require a trip to the ER. (You’d be surprised at how much a large skin tag can bleed if not cauterized or frozen by a professional.) It can also hurt — a lot.
“Skin tags are small skin growths that commonly occur in the fleshy folds of your skin. They are usually about 2 to 5 millimeters in size — the size of a tiny pebble — but can sometimes grow larger — up to half an inch,” explains Kateryna Kiselova, DO, physician at Penn Family Medicine Valley Forge.