Skin tags are common and generally harmless growths of excess skin cells. However, their appearance may affect how you feel about your appearance.
At Dermatology Center of Northwest Houston, experienced dermatologists Lisa Hitchins, MD, and Sheevam Shah, MD, specialize in skin tag assessment and removal services. They use minimally invasive treatments to eliminate skin tags without damaging surrounding tissue.
What to know about skin tags
A skin tag describes a small flap of skin attached to a small stalk. A tag is usually the same color as your skin, although some tags can be a dark brown. These benign growths can appear anywhere on your body, but are most common in areas where there’s friction, such as your:
- Upper chest
- Under the breasts
Skin tags aren’t cancerous or otherwise harmful. However, they can become irritated if they get stuck in your jewelry or clothing. Constant friction can also make skin tags painful. If tags grow on your legs, face, or underarms, you may also experience pain or bleeding if you shave over them or cut them off.
7 factors that increase your risk for skin tags
The underlying cause of skin tags isn’t well understood. In addition to friction, you may develop tags when excess collagen and blood vessels get trapped under thicker pieces of your skin. There are many underlying factors that can contribute to the growth of skin tags, such as:
Both men and women are at risk for skin tags, especially If they have parents or siblings with skin tags.
2. Being female
Women are especially prone to the growths due to hormone fluctuations that occur, especially during their transition to menopause. Hormone changes during pregnancy can also cause the growth of more skin tags.
3. Being overweight
Your weight can play a role in the growth of skin tags. This may be due to increased friction in your skin in areas where it rubs together. Being overweight or obese can also cause metabolic changes in your body that trigger the production of excess skin cells.
4. Having diabetes
There is a link between insulin resistance in your body and the growth of skin tags. In fact, people with a lot of skin tags may need to be tested for diabetes, as the tags can sometimes be a warning sign of underlying insulin issues.
Skin tags can also be a warning sign of another underlying health issue – high cholesterol.
5. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
Women with PCOS can be at higher risk for skin tags because of the hormone imbalances that occur with the condition.
6. Human papillomavirus (HPV) infections
Having HPV can increase your risk for skin tags that grow in the groin area, possibly due to friction in the area.
7. Age-related skin changes
As you get older, your skin slows down its production of collagen and elastin, two proteins essential for healthy, youthful skin. The loss of these proteins can increase your risk for the growth of new skin tags.
If you already have skin tags and wish to have them removed, you can schedule a skin evaluation at Dermatology Center of Northwest Houston by calling the Cypress, Texas, dermatology office or by booking an appointment online today.