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Skin tags: Why do they occur and how to deal with them

Skin tags are quite similar to warts or moles, but different. Here's what causes them and how you can remove them.
A woman with skin tags and mole
You can get rid of skin tags easily. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Aayushi Gupta Published: 7 Oct 2022, 16:15 pm IST
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There are many different skin conditions and problems that can have short or long term effects. Skin tags are one of these skin problems. The American Osteopathic College of Dermatology estimates that over half of all individuals have skin tags, which are flesh-colored skin growths. That makes it very evident that it’s a widespread issue. Even though they are harmless, they can be unsightly. That is why people who face them, prefer to get rid of them. Here we’ll discuss the causes of skin tags and ways to remove them.

Health Shots spoke to Dr Sonakshi S, Consultant Dermatologist and Cosmetologist at Ara Skin Clinic, Bengaluru, to find out about skin tags and what are ways to treat it.

Dr Sonakshi says, “Skin tags, also called acrochordons are tiny, soft, skin-colored growths on your skin. They can range in size and colour from a few millimetres to five centimetres broad.” Skin tags are typically found on the neck, under the breasts, in the groin area, or on the armpits. They can also grow on the eyelids or under the folds of the buttocks.

skin tags
It’s okay to be wary of skin tags. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

There are a few other skin conditions such as moles and warts, that can resemble skin tags. But you should know the difference between them.

Difference between warts and skin tags

  • Warts tend to be rough with an uneven surface than skin tags, which are soft and smooth.
  • Warts are often flat or slightly elevated, whereas skin tags are knobbly and hang off the skin.
  • Warts are more likely to be the cause of an unexpected breakout or cluster of growths than skin tags, which are not contagious.
  • Skin tags often do not cause pain or irritation, unlike warts.

Also, read: Get rid of warts with these 8 simple and effective home remedies

Why do skin tags occur?

“Skin tags are formed of loose collagen protein and are surrounded by blood vessels,” according to Dr Sonakshi. Most of the time, they cause no symptoms and are painless. However, they could bleed and become sore if they rub against jewellery and clothing. It is advisable to check with your doctor since they claimed it to be the first stage of a tumour. Though they are noncancerous and don’t become cancerous if left untreated.

Here’s who can develop skin tags:

  • Skin tags can appear on both males and females.
  • They typically affect older people.
  • Those who are obese.
  • People who have type 2 diabetes.
  • Due to changes in their hormone levels, pregnant women may also be more prone to developing skin tags.
skin tags
Avoid home remedies to get rid of skin tags. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Here are the treatment options for skin tags:

Skin tags are harmless and sometimes they fall off on their own; however, you can definitely remove them. Surgery options for skin tags removal:

1. Skin tags can be removed using the cryosurgery technique by freezing the skin.

2. Skin tags can be removed through electrocautery or cauterization, which uses heat to burn away the tissue.

3. It can also be eliminated by cutting them off with a scalpel or pair of scissors.

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These are simple surgical procedures that result in minimal discomfort, minimal recovery time, and minimal scarring. The advantage of surgical removal is that the skin tags are entirely removed, although there is a chance of minor bleeding.


Skin tags can occasionally regrow and develop new ones. Although not all skin tags are harmful, they can be a nuisance or cosmetic woe. But, you shouldn’t worry. One word of caution, it’s recommended to see a dermatologist if the appearance of a skin tag changes or spreads more on your skin.

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About the Author

Aayushi Gupta is a health writer with a special interest in trends related to diet, fitness, beauty and intimate health. With around 2 years of experience in the wellness industry, she is connected to leading experts and doctors to provide our readers with factually correct information. ...Read More

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