What causes skin tags? Two the questions most often (besides what causes wrinkles).
Well, not to worry, just like wrinkles, skin tags are relatively harmless, but definitely annoying....And, they do seem to be more common in middle aged people.....
What are skin tags?
Well the medical terms for them are Acrochordons or Fibroepithelial polyps.
These are small, usually harmless skin growths that stick out from the skin, connected by a short, narrow “stalk” to the skin surface.
They are generally colorless but sometimes do appear darker.
There is no single cause of skin tags. But they usually occur midlife and more commonly to people who are overweight or diabetic.
They are caused by friction, either by skin folds rubbing together or by tight clothing rubbing against the skin (underwire bras are a common cause).
There is even some proof that genetics also play a role in skin tag formation. Even a neck chain worn constantly can start a skin tag.
Newly formed skin tags are anywhere from 2 to 5 mm in length while some can grow as large as 1 to 5 cm in diameter.
Once you know the answer to "what causes skin tags?" and “what is a skin tag?” you will probably ask, “what parts of the body are most susceptible to skin tags?”
While skin tags can appear anywhere on the body, the most commonly affected areas are the neck and armpits.
For women, skin tags seem to form often under the breasts and on the bra line. Other common places are the eyelids, buttock folds and groin area.
Children, especially plump babies, can develop skin tags in areas where skin folds rub against each other such as the sides of the neck.
Older children and teens that play sports can develop skin tags from chafing uniforms and safety gear.
Second to “what causes skin tags”, another commonly asked question about this issue is “what should I do about them?” Skin tags are usually benign growths, and most of the time you can leave them alone.
A skin tag may become precancerous or even cancerous, but it is extremely rare. Any skin tag that bleeds, turns unusual colors, changes in size or causes pain should be removed and biopsied to rule out any problems.
Some people prefer to have their skin tags naturally removed, instead of visiting a doctor to have them removed. This natural process works quite good for some, but it can take a few weeks before their gone. The good news is - once they're removed this way, they usually won't grow back.
A common belief is that having them removed simply causes more to form, but there is no evidence for this.
Some may ask, “are skin tags contagious?” The answer is no. There is no evidence to support this. While warts are caused by the HPV virus and are very contagious, skin tags are not thought to be virus-caused.
Now that you know what causes skin tags, you may wonder if there is anything you can do to prevent them from forming. Though there is nothing you can do if you are genetically predisposed to them, you can lose weight.
Also, try to avoid wearing tight clothing and jewelry and keep problem areas dry to avoid friction (talc or cornstarch powder may help).
Always keep an eye on any skin growths and notify your doctor of any changes.
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