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Skin tags are very small growths of skin that commonly occur in areas such as the neck, groin, underarms, and anywhere there are skin folds located on the body. The most common causes of skin tags are friction, obesity, pregnancy, and genetics. Blood vessels and collagen that become trapped in thick layers of skin can also cause skin tags. Friction in these areas can contribute further to their formation.
The rubbing of skin against skin is probably one of the most common ways that skin tags develop. This is especially true of individuals who are overweight. People with excess weight and skin are more likely to experience friction, and folds within the skin where skin tags can form.
Genetics may also play a role. Individuals who have parents, siblings, or grandparents with numerous skin tags can generally figure that they will also form them at some point. Skin tags are less common in young people, and they generally begin appearing after midlife. Skin tags are benign growths that do not represent any danger to the individual.
Another one of the common causes of skin tags is pregnancy. This is primarily thought to be because of hormones and chemical changes in the body. Women who are expecting also tend to have more folds and creases in the skin. Skin tags may form in these areas where friction occurs and skin rubs against skin.
While skin tags are not dangerous and do not represent a health risk, they can be aggravating if they become very large or are located in an area that causes discomfort. Skin tags commonly occur on eyelids, for example, and if one becomes very large, it may obstruct the person's vision or be uncomfortable. People with aggravating skin tags or tags that interfere with day-to-day living may want to have them removed.
There are a number of home remedies and quick methods of skin tag removal, but generally, it is a good idea to let a trained medical professional take them off. Attempting to remove them at home may result in infection or unsightly scars. Other skin disorders that may be misdiagnosed as skin tags include warts, moles, malignant skin cancers, and seborrheic keratosis. Excessive skin tags may also be an indication of an underlying condition, such as acromegaly or polycystic ovary syndrome.