Avail Dermatology

Are Skin Tags Dangerous?

Skin tags are little growths, usually just millimeters long, growing out of otherwise normal-looking skin. They’re often a little bulbous on the end with a narrow stalk of skin connecting them to the body. They are also usually the same color as the surrounding skin. The good news is that almost all skin tags are completely harmless. They can, however, be annoying and unsightly. If they grow in a place that is often rubbed by clothing or other skin (as is often the case), they can be painful too.

Who Gets Skin Tags?

Skin tags seem to pop up more on some people than others, which leads dermatologists to believe that their appearance stems from genetic and/or hormonal factors—although the exact causes are still unknown. Those who run a higher risk of developing skin tags include:

  • People who are overweight
  • People over the age of 50
  • People with diabetes
  • Pregnant women
  • People with other family members with many skin tags

Also, skin tags usually develop on areas of the body that get rubbed frequently, or that get hot or moist:

  • Folds of skin under the arms
  • Around the bra line for women
  • Around the neck (particularly where jewelry or clothing rubs)
  • On the torso
  • In the groin area
  • Even on the eyelids

What is the Difference between Skin Tags and Moles?

Skin tags are not moles, and it’s important to understand the difference. Moles are derived from an entirely different type of cells, which are different than skin cells. They can be flat or raised, flesh-colored or darker in color. In contrast, almost all skin tags are the same color as the surrounding skin. Many moles are benign, but you need to keep an eye on them—changes in size, shape or consistency of moles could indicate skin cancer development and need to be monitored regularly by your dermatologist. Distinguishing moles from skin tags can be difficult, and a trained dermatologist is best equipped to make that diagnosis.

Treatment for Skin Tags

The vast majority of skin tags are benign and harmless. If you have skin tags that do not bother you, and they are not showing any signs of trouble, you really don’t need to have them treated unless you want to. If you can’t stand how they look cosmetically, or they get rubbed and tugged painfully by your clothing or movement, you should call us. Skin tags that get a lot of friction can hurt, get twisted and bleed, which can lead to infection. Do not try to cut them off yourself, or they may become infected.

If you want to remove skin tabs, call Avail Dermatology at 770-251-5111. We can safely snip or freeze them off during a brief appointment.