What Causes Skin Tags and How to Remove

A skin tag is a simple outgrowth. However, there may be outgrowths, which in fact, look like this tag, but could be more harmful. It’s important that you understand the appearance of such tags.

  • Definition: You may choose to define it as a tumor or a growth, which arises out of epidermis. Significantly, skin tags also arise out of dermal fibro vascular tissue and epidermis at the same time. In normal terms, it could also be defined as a soft growth near the eyes, groin or armpits and even beneath the breasts. Scientifically, you may also choose to call is as Cutaneous Papilloma.
  • Appearance: It could range from a few millimeters to a centimeter. Some could grow to as large as 4 centimeters. It appears as a tumor, on any part in a body. The most remarkable aspect of its appearance is its color. You may find the tumor to be slightly brown, it may look distinctly brown on white faces, but otherwise, may look to have fleshy color.
  • Nature of skin tags: They are harmless. It is the result of rubbed skin. You would notice such tags are formed mostly on the skin surface, which is often rubbed by the skin, or at times rubbed with your clothing. Eyelids, armpits, surface beneath the breasts and neck are some places where skin is usually rubbed, and most of the times they are formed in such places in a body.
  • What does it contain: They contain nerve cells, fat cells, and may contain fibres. It is just an outgrowth which does not cause any pain or discomfort. At times these tags on your body may even not get your attention.


There had been a number of researches conducted by medical experts to find the exact cause of skin tags. Though, few causes have cropped up, still, it is hard to ascertain the exact cause.

Basically, it is a result of an outgrowth, which is caused by the collagen and blood vessels. Collagens are formed in the surface of skin, and when blood vessels and more collagen are concentrated at the same place, you would notice a tumor formed on the skin surface, such tumors are skin tags.

However, medical experts have put down a series of causes.

Prime reason

Medical findings suggest that brushing of skin with one another leads to enough friction and the result is a skin tag. Places such as armpits, where considerable brushing takes place causes skin to dry out.

The fact is the skin unwraps and becomes red, which leads to these tags. You would notice they are prominent mostly on individuals who have attained middle age.

Injecting steroids

Many body builders have developed the tags on their skin surface. Those weight lifters and body builders who try and use steroids to affect a change in their muscular structure may have a greater chance of developing skin tags on their body.

The use of steroids could lead to irregular formation of collagens. Steroids vastly affect human body. It leads to irregular formation of collagens at a single place on the epidermis, which produces these tags.


Pregnancy could also be a cause. Though not all pregnant women develop these tags, yet, there are numerous instances, where pregnant woman had developed them. Skin tags in pregnant woman are the result of body not reacting to the needs of pregnancy.

How to Remove

They are small, useless pieces of skin that hang onto other areas such as eyelids, armpits, neck or groin. These tags are more annoying than dangerous and usually are benign. Some are darker than the other skin which makes them stand out even more. One thing is certain, most people who have this problem want to know as much as possible about removing these tags.

The big question is how to get rid of them. This little piece of skin is small and looks as if it would be easy just to snip off with nail clippers. But that’s a bad idea. Clipping or cutting a skin tag is not a job for amateurs. The first problem is bleeding, which may be more difficult to control than expected. The next problem is the potential for infection from using non-sterile tools. And the final problem is that the scarring left may be even more unattractive than it was.

The safe way for removing the tags is to have it done by a dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon. The physician may use cryotherapy to freeze or cauterize the skin tag by burning it with electrical current. Cryotherapy is painless and quick.

Cauterizing or cutting away the tag may be done under local anesthesia and involve some post-operative pain. Any of these medical treatments for removing tags is costly. As elective procedures, don’t expect your medical insurance to pay.

If you insist on trying to eliminate it at home, first make certain its actually a skin tag and not another condition. One method is to tie off this tag at the base of the stalk with dental floss or fishing line. After tying the stalk, clip the tag with sharp scissors or nail clippers that have been sterilized with alcohol. Clean the area with hydrogen peroxide. When the bleeding stops, cover with an antibacterial ointment and cover with a bandage. Continue to apply antibacterial ointment twice daily for several days.

Any signs of infection, swelling, inflammation or pain at the site of the skin tag is a concern which must be seen immediately by a physician. Infection is a serious problem that must be contained to avoid problems in the body far more serious.

Removing one skin tag is no guarantee that another will not surface nearby. Skin tags are more common in middle to older ages. They are not related to any disease and not likely to become cancerous. They are just irritating, not dangerous.