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Skin Tags

A skin tag (or acrochordon) is literally a growth of skin that ‘hangs’ from a small stem attached to your ‘regular’ skin. It is usually painless (unless rubbing or twisting) and can be the size of a pinhead to about the size of a cherry. Skin tags are usually irregularly shaped and are the same color as the rest of the skin. In some cases, skin tags may be dark brown, and these tend to appear as bumps rather than ‘hanging’ pieces of skin. In all cases, skin tags are attached to your regular skin by a thin piece of skin called the stem.

Although skin tags can develop anywhere on the body, they usually appear on the eyelids, under the arms, on the neck, under the breasts and in the folds of the groin area. Children and young teenagers are much less likely to develop skin tags than a middle aged adult. Doctors believe that skin tags develop when skin is constantly rubbing against itself, like under the arms for example, but the evidence is not 100% conclusive. Skin tags do seem more prevalent in overweight peoples.

Are Skin Tags Harmful?

Skin tags are not harmful. Although many people believe any strange growth of the skin is indicative of skin cancer, almost 100% of skin tags are not malignant. Skin types, in scientific terms, are a type of tumor, but again, they are benign and literally harmless. In a few cases, symptoms of skin cancer have been misdiagnosed as skin tags but this is very rare. For the most part, people remove skin tags simply because they feel they are unsightly or uncomfortable.


Skin tags are small flaps of skin, of irregular shape and usually skin colored, that hang from a ‘thread’ of skin which is attached to the skin of your body. If you are middle aged and you get find a skin tag, there is a chance you will continue to get them at higher frequencies up to the age of about 60. Skin tags generally have no other symptoms besides the aesthetics, but in some cases they can be painful if they are constantly being irritated, twisted or rubbed. In some rare cases, skin tags can be very large (the size of a cherry for example) and in these cases, irritation is much greater.

Skin Tag Removal or Treatment

There are various treatments for skin tags, the most easy and effective of these being natural treatments. Natural treatments usually come in liquid form, where the solution is simply applied to the tag. Within the next few days, the skin tag falls off. This procedure is completely painless and leaves no scars of any kind.

Cauterization: this procedure is simply the ‘burning’ off of the skin tag using electrolysis equipment. The procedure is quick and relatively painless. Depending on the amount of skin tags being cauterized, the process can get relatively expensive.
Cryosurgery: much like warts or moles, the skin tag can also be ‘frozen’ off with liquid nitrogen. A very common practice, cryotherapy or cryosurgery is relatively painless and is used for many types of skin lesions. More than one visit may be necessary to fully remove large skin tags.

Excision: simply cutting off a skin tag with a pair of scissors is obviously not recommended. In many cases, the result will be some pain and a lot of bleeding. However, cutting off a skin tag will usually be successful. Scarring can occur if patience and precision is not used.
Ligation: ligation is the procedure of blocking the blood supply to a specific area. Blocking the blood supply to a skin tag can cause the tag to die, dry out and finally fall off. To do this, many people will use a string or hair and tie it around the ‘stem’ of the skin tag. Although this method has been successful on many occasions, it can sometimes be uncomfortable and time consuming.


There is no easy way to prevent skin tags. Doctors do not have enough information to outline precise cause for their development. The only advice many dermatologists give is to not wear clothing that is too tight or is constantly ‘rubbing’ on the skin, and to take care of your skin in general. The good news is, skins tags are easy to get rid of with all natural treatments, and they are not dangerous unless misdiagnosed.


New Zealand Dermatological Society:

US National Library of Medicine:

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