What Causes Skin Tags?

Skin tags are those harmless little flaps of extra skin that grow most often on the areas of your body that rub together or against your clothing, such as your underarms and neck.

While benign, skin tags can become bothersome if they get pinched in your jewelry or clothing. You may also be unhappy with the way they look if they grow near your eyes and other visible parts of your body.

Lisa Hitchins, MD is experienced in evaluating skin tags and offers on-site removal services to quickly and safely get rid of painful or unsightly growths.  

The biology of skin tags

Skin tags are very common among people from all walks of life. They often start smaller than a pinhead and can grow as large as five centimeters. Some skin tags are skin-colored, while others can grow dark brown or black in color.

Each tag is made up of skin fibers, nerve cells, and fat cells. Many growths have stalks that stick out from the skin, causing the tag to get snagged in clothing, which can be painful.

If you have skin tags on your legs, face, or other areas where you frequently shave, they may get in your way or accidentally get cut off, which can cause bleeding.

Why you have those skin tags in the first place

Both men and women are prone to skin tags, but the growths are more common in women as they get older and experience fluctuations in their hormone levels, especially during pregnancy and menopause.

While friction can produce skin tags, there are several underlying medical conditions that can increase the likelihood you’ll develop these benign growths at some point. The conditions include:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Crohn’s disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

There are other health issues that can trigger the growth of skin tags. Any tags that become bothersome or affect how you feel about your skin can be easily removed with several different technologies.

Surgery-free skin tag removal

In general, there’s no medical reason to have skin tags removed unless they interfere with shaving or cause pain when pinched by your necklace or clothing.

Dr. Hitchins offers several in-office procedures to quickly remove skin tags. It’s always recommended that you seek professional assistance for skin tag removal, as doing it yourself at home can lead to uncontrolled bleeding or the increased risk for an infection.

You can try tying a thin string or piece of dental floss around the stalk of your skin tag and pulling it tightly to cut off blood flow to the area. While this method is effective at destroying a skin tag, it takes time for the tag to shrink away and fall off. If you’re looking for more immediate results, schedule an appointment at Dermatology Center of Northwest Houston.

Depending on your skin type and the location of your tag, Dr. Hitchins uses a specific technology to remove the excess skin. In many cases, freezing the skin tag with liquid nitrogen is a fast, painless way to remove the growth.

You may also be a good candidate for skin tag removal with a technology that burns the tag and seals off the skin to prevent bleeding.

Some skin tags may require surgical excision and Dr. Hitchins performs minimally invasive procedures in-office with a local anesthetic to keep the procedure pain-free.

To learn more about your options for removing unwanted skin tags, call Dermatology Center of Northwest Houston today or request a consultation online now. 

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