Skin tags are probably the most harmless of common skin growths. Their precise cause is largely unknown, but it is generally believed that they are the result of skin regularly rubbing on skin, or other surfaces such as clothing or jewelry. Consequently, allowing for differences in body form, weight and life-style, they are usually to be found on the neck, underarms, eyelids or groin. Obese or even slightly overweight people seem to be more prone to them, probably because of more folds and creases and areas of their body where skin is exposed to regular friction. They are also quite common under large women’s breasts and may also grow on the chest or back of people.
Skin tags are like small, soft, fleshy flaps, hanging from your skin. Usually, their “head” is wider than their “base” and they are sometimes attached to your body by a thin fleshy “stalk”. They are usually flesh-colored, although they can sometimes be slightly darker, but not as dark as moles. Most importantly, they are absolutely harmless. Contrary to warts, they are not caused by a virus, and are in no way contagious.
Normally, there is no reason why you would want to remove skin tags. In fact, if you only have a few on your body and they do not bother you in any way, the wisest thing would be to leave them alone. In any case, it is very common for skin tags to fall off on their own without any treatment on your part. However, there are cases where these small skin lesions, although harmless, may interfere with your daily life, bleed, or hurt. For example, skin tags on the neck may get snagged in your necklace, skin tags in armpits, groin, chest or back may rub on clothes and become irritated or swell, and people with many or large skin tags on their eyelids may have trouble seeing properly. Also, some people really have a lot of these growths in visible places, which can be embarrassing socially. In such cases, you might want to consider removing them.
Skin tags are surgically removed with a scalpel, electro-cauterization, cryogenically (freezing) or laser surgery. These methods are instantly effective, although they may sometimes cause some pain or scarring, depending on the size and location of the tag. One major downside to having tags removed professionally is cost. This kind of surgery is usually quite expensive, especially if you have a lot of tags to remove. To make matters worse, given the fact that these growths are not dangerous for your health, removing them is considered cosmetic surgery with the result that most insurance packages will refuse to cover the expenditure.
It is quite easy however to remove skin tags on your own, at home. Some people have been known to just rip them off, but that can be really painful and result in bleeding, scarring and skin infections.