Why Do I Get Skin Tags

Skin tags occur when there is friction on your skin. They are small growths with skin-coloured bumps which appear on your body when the skin cell rubs against itself.1 Your skin can develop a friction when you produce extra skin cells which leads to friction. The lesion occurs in areas such as the neck,armpit,groin,under breast and genital.

Skin tags tend to develop when you are overweight. They also appear on your body as a result of genetic factors the skin rubs against itself and when you produce extra cells as a result of being overweight. They also appear on your body if you share a family history with people having skin tag by sharing family history with people who have skin tags. They are small flap hang on the stalk

Skin tags are common. Both men and women experience skin tags  in their lifetime. They tend to occur in older people and people who are obese or have type 2 diabetes. A study reveals nearly 60 percent of adults would develop at least one skin tag in their lifetime. There is a prevalence of skin tag in old people compared to children and adolescents. Because it occurs at a later stage in their  life.

What are skin tags?

Skin tags are small bumps made of loose collagen fibres and blood vessels surrounded by skin1 . The medical term is acrochordons. Collagen is a type of protein found throughout the body. Skin tags tend to grow in small folds and form bumps where your skin rubs against itself. They are skin colored bumps with a base, which may be narrow or wide depending on the type of growth. They can vary in colour and size from a few millimetres up to 5 cm wide.

Causes of skin tags

Skin tags are common in people who have diabetes or are overweight. Pregnant women may develop skin tags as a result of changes in their hormone level.2 A study of 49 patients with acrochordons shows the prevalence of human papillomavirus (HPV) and suggests that the virus plays a role in the development of skin tags.3

Risks factors of skin tags

A study has found five risk factors associated with skin tags.4 Here are the risk factors. 

  • Abnormal lipid profile
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Obesity
  • Genetic factor

Signs and symptoms of skin tags

Skin tags are unnoticeable, soft and smooth lesions with a narrow or wide base that are harmless and do not cause symptoms or infection. They take your skin colour and hang it on a stalk. However, they may become irritating when hanging on your clothes or jewellery.5

Management and treatment for skin tags

These lesions do not cause pain or any discomfort but you can remove them if they become irritating. The most common methods are

  • Cryotherapy, where the dermatologist freezes off the skin tag using liquid nitrogen. 
  • Electrocautery, where the dermatologist uses an electric probe or needle to burn off the skin tag. 
  • Snipping or excision by using scissors or a scalpel may be a better option for large skin tags.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Are skin tags common?

Yes, skin tags are common. They occur in both men and women. 

How are skin tags diagnosed?

Healthcare providers diagnose skin tags after a brief evaluation. They will further enquire about your health history and pay attention to conditions that raise your risk for skin tags. This examination helps rule growths that are similar to skin tags.

Can skin tags be prevented?

They can be prevented by maintaining a healthy weight, doing regular exercise and avoiding clothes that may rub against your skin.

Are skin tags removal safe?

Skin tag removal is safe when done by a general practitioner. 

When should I consider skin tags removal?

You consider skin tags a problem if they become irritating. When the friction hangs on your clothes or jewellery and becomes difficult to pull it off.  This is an apparent reason to consider stag tag removal by making an appointment with a general practitioner first before removing the skin tags by yourself.


Skin tags are small flaps made of loose collagen fibres and blood vessels surrounded by skin. They are harmless bumps which occur as a result of friction. And tend to grow when you produce extra skin cells due to being overweight and having skin chafing. The bumps are skin colored flaps that rest on your stalk. The medical term is acrochordons. These lesions become a problem when they frequently hang on your clothes or jewellery. Taking preventive measures by not putting on clothes that are likely to rub against your skin or using jewellery can future occurrences. They also appear on the skin of old people and pregnant women.

Skin tags are common in both men and women. They have equal effects on their body. And tend to grow in areas where there is friction and form skin folds on the neck, armpit, eyelid, groin, under the breast and genital. They can be prevented by doing regular physical exercise, maintaining a healthy weight and not wearing clothes or using jewellery that may likely rub excessively with the skin. People living with skin tags can book an appointment with a general practitioner if the skin tags become an obstacle to their daily routines.


  1. Skin tags [Internet]. nhs.uk. 2017 [cited 2023 Feb 9]. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/skin-tags/
  2. MHS KL MD. Skin tag removal: Optional but effective [Internet]. Harvard Health. 2020 [cited 2023 Feb 9]. Available from: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/skin-tag-removal-optional-but-effective-2020032319079
  3. Skin tags - american osteopathic college of dermatology(Aocd) [Internet]. [cited 2023 Feb 9]. Available from: https://www.aocd.org/page/SkinTags#:~:text=Acrochordons%2C%20also%20called%20skin%20tags,family%20history%20of%20skin%20tags.
  4. Farag AGA, Abdu Allah AMK, El-Rebey HS, Mohamed Ibraheem KI, Mohamed ASED, Labeeb AZ, et al. Role of insulin-like growth factor-1 in skin tags: a clinical, genetic and immunohistochemical study in a sample of Egyptian patients. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol [Internet]. 2019 Apr 26 [cited 2023 Feb 9];12:255–66. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6503204/
  5. Skin tags (Acrochordons): skin tag removal, skin tag on eyelid [Internet]. Cleveland Clinic. [cited 2023 Feb 9]. Available from: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21528-skin-tags-acrochordons
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Abdullahi Abdullateef

Bachelor of Science - BSc Mass Communication, Bayero University, Kano, Nigeria
BSc Health Science, University of the People, Pasadena, California

Hi! My name is Abdullahi Abdullateef and I am currently doing double majors at different universities. I am extremely passionate about Health Communication using communication strategies to bridge the gap between the scientific community and the larger society. Churning out self-explanatory articles is my utmost priority in promoting good health and well being among people. I hope reading this article would help you make the best informed decision to stay healthy.

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