While the cause of skin tags is unknown, research has suggested that they’re caused by anything from friction to hormonal shifts. So, it’s no surprise that skin tags are common among pregnant women. They don’t disappear on their own in normally, but will they vanish after pregnancy?
The short answer is – sometimes. Situations are different for everyone. If you do develop skin tags when expecting a baby, sometimes they will disappear after the child is born, and sometimes other removal methods may be necessary.
If you’ve never experienced them before, it’s important to recognize what they are, and what you can do about them. While they are a fairly common benign skin growth, you may have never had one until you became pregnant.
The good news is that they are harmless. However, people want to get rid of skin tags if they cause irritation, or are unsightly to look at on a certain area of the body. If you’re pregnant and have skin tags for the first time, here’s what you can expect.
How to Identify Skin Tags When Pregnant
When you become pregnant, your body goes through many changes, including changes in the skin. Things like spider veins or stretch marks are fairly common. Some of them happen faster than others. Some, you may not even be aware of why they happen. If you’ve never had a skin tag before, but you’re starting to notice small growths on your body, it’s important to be able to identify them for what they truly are.
A skin tag is a benign growth of skin that may either look like a softened balloon, or small flap or fold. They protrude out of the skin with a stalk, which attaches them to the body. They can be as small as a pinhead, or grow to the size of a grape (about one centimeter in diameter).
They are normally the same color as the rest of your skin, or slightly darker. They may be unsightly to look at, especially depending on their location. That is why skin tag removal is considered to be a cosmetic procedure. The important thing to remember, though, is that they aren’t harmful to you or your baby.
Why Does Pregnancy Cause Skin Growths?
While there is no definitive answer as to what causes skin tags under normal circumstances, doctors have linked their appearance to friction. While anyone can get skin tags, they tend to be more common in people over the age of 50, people with diabetes, and the obese.
For a pregnant woman, knowing what causes a sudden influx of skin growths is more of a mystery. Most researchers believe that skin tags during pregnancy are caused by an increase in hormones. It is also possible that they are more common due to a combination of hormonal shifts, and more friction or skin rubbing since pregnancy causes weight gain in its later stages.
It is typically in the second trimester when these growths will start to show up. They usually form around the groin, underneath the breasts, on the neck, or abdomen area. Because of their location, many women don’t even notice they have them until after they have delivered their child.
Skin tags seem to be very common in pregnant women who haven’t experienced them before. If you’ve never had a skin tag, don’t be surprised to start seeing them while you’re pregnant. If you are more prone to them, you might see multiple growths starting to pop up throughout the gestation period. Not only can they multiply, but they can get bigger in size.
Do Pregnancy Skin Tags Need to Be Removed?
If they don’t cause you discomfort (by rubbing against clothing, jewelry, etc.), and they don’t bother you aesthetically, there is no medical need to remove them. They won’t usually fall off on their own over time unless they somehow become twisted and deprived of oxygenated blood. So, if you don’t take treatment options into account, you could have that skin tag forever, in normal cases.
Skin tags in pregnancy can be a bit different. In some cases, the skin tags will disappear after the baby is born. This could be due to another flux of hormones, or something else entirely. If you do have a skin tag or several, that vanish away after you’ve given birth, you don’t need to worry about treating them. They can appear around the same place, but the same one doesn’t regenerate over and over.
If your skin tags don’t go away after pregnancy, and you want to get rid of them, there are several effective removal methods to consider.
Is it Safe to Remove Skin Tags During Pregnancy?
Most doctors recommend that you wait until after you’ve given birth before using a skin tag removal solution. While most of the treatments are harmless, this is just a precautionary measure. Some options should be avoided while pregnant. These include the ‘surgical’ procedures that can be used to remove skin tags.
These procedures include:
- Cryogenics: Freezing them off.
- Cauterization: Burning them off with a surgical tool.
- Scalpel removal: Allowing a doctor to cut them off at the stalk surgically.
- Laser treatment: Use of a laser to burn off skin tags.
While these are all considered to be outpatient surgeries, it’s best to avoid them during pregnancy. There are no prescription medications that can be taken orally to get rid of skin tags, either. Be aware of using any types of ointments, creams, etc. They may contain ingredients that are harmful to your body during this sensitive time.
However, some solutions are safe for you and the baby during pregnancy. Before you start any treatment (even a home remedy), talk to your doctor. They’ll be able to assure you of that treatment’s safety, so you can feel confident in using it up through the birth.
Tea Tree Oil
This is used worldwide to help treat a variety of different health and skin conditions. It is an antiseptic, antibacterial, and antifungal solution that is all-natural. With that in mind, there are very few negative side effects of tea tree oil during pregnancy. You do need to use a carrier oil or diluting agent to put it on safely to sensitive parts of the body, such as the breasts.
Many OTC skin tag solutions contain tea tree oil as an active ingredient. But, using it in its purest form is a safer way to make sure you’re not harming yourself or your child.
To use tea tree oil on a skin tag, follow these steps:
- Wash and fully dry the affected area. This will allow the oil to penetrate the skin and reduce your risk of contamination fully.
- Mix a few drops of tea tree oil with a carrier, such as castor oil or jojoba oil.
- Take a cotton ball and dip it into the oil solution until fully saturated.
- Apply the cotton ball directly over the skin tag, being careful not to rub too hard.
- For extra penetration, you can cover the cotton ball with a bandage and leave it on for several hours.
You should notice after several days (or weeks) that the tea tree oil helps to dry up the skin tag. It may start to shrivel in size before it falls off.
Additional Natural Remedies
There are dozens of at-home solutions for skin tags that use natural ingredients – many of which you likely already have in your home. Some of the more popular natural options include:
Keep in mind that even though these remedies are safe and natural, everyone’s skin reacts to things differently. You may have a different chemical balance to your skin than someone else.
- Pro Tip: There’s only anecdotal evidence that natural methods work. Most people get good results with Apothecary tea tree oil.
If you’re unsure about using an ingredient, speak with your doctor beforehand. It’s also important to be aware of any allergies you might have that could create a reaction.
Using OTC Skin Tag Removal Products after Pregnancy
Skin tag removal products, like creams and gels, should most likely be avoided until after you’ve given birth. While most of them aren’t likely to do any harm, it’s always a good idea to take precautions. If you noticed the appearance of skin tags during pregnancy, and want to get rid of them, there are several great products on the market you can safely use.
TagBand Removal Kit
For them to fall off, they must be deprived of blood flow and oxygen. The TagBand device achieves this goal with an easy-to-use kit. It comes with everything you need to tie off the skin tag at the stalk. From there, you simply have to wait for it to fall off on its own. There are no messy creams or gels to worry about each day. It’s a quick, one-time solution, making it a great choice if you have multiple growths.
To use the TagBand effectively, take the following steps:
- Thoroughly clean the area surrounding the skin tag before using the band. The kit comes with cleansing cloths to make this job easier.
- Before applying the included cone to your skin put the band in place on the top 1/5th of it.
- Place the cone directly over the skin tag, so it is level with the rest of your skin.
- Slide the included remover down the length of the cone until the band pops off. It should be completely off the cone, and fully around the stalk of the skin tag.
Depending on the size of your skin tag, it could take several days or even weeks for it to fall off. But, you should only need to use this solution one time per skin tag. You may notice it starting to turn a darker color, or even see it ‘shrivel.’ These are positive signs that it’s almost ready to fall off, so be patient. Find out more about the TagBand in our in-depth product review.
Safety Tips & Advice When Pregnant
As stated above, your skin will go through several changes throughout your pregnancy. Some of the most common changes include:
- Stretch marks
- Pigmentation changes
- Broken veins (Spider veins)
- Itchy skin
Each of these changes may require their own specific type of treatment. It’s important to understand how to remain safe throughout your pregnancy if you want to remove them.
Whether you’re pregnant or not, you should never try to pull off or pick at a skin tag. They are connected to the body via stalks. Unless you completely remove the stalk, it will not be fully removed.
Additionally, picking at or even cutting the skin tag yourself can lead to more serious complications. If the tag begins bleeding, it could become infected. That could be harmful to you and your unborn child. Never try a skin tag removal method that pulls at the skin tag on your own.
When Should I See a Doctor about Skin Tags?
While the consensus is that you should wait until after your baby is born to remove skin tags, there are some instances where you should get them checked out by a doctor ahead of time. If you notice any of these abnormalities associated with a skin tag, they may need to be removed and tested before you give birth. Signs to keep an eye on include:
- Rapid size change. Keep in mind that they can grow to be quite large. However, sudden changes in size could mean something else.
- Irritation shouldn’t be a factor. In fact, many people don’t even notice they have them, depending on where they show up on the body. If your skin tag becomes irritated, red, or inflamed, it could be something else.
- They don’t normally bleed unless they get caught on something. It could be a sign of infection.
If you ever notice any of these symptoms with your skin tag(s), seek the help of a doctor. They will likely want to remove it and run a biopsy. The biopsy will help to ensure there are no other health conditions or something more serious causing the issues with the growth. While you may want to usually avoid surgical procedures like this while pregnant, having an abnormal skin tag is nothing to take lightly.
Will My Skin Tags Disappear After I Have a Baby?
Many of the skin changes you experience when pregnant may become permanent. While there are solutions for things like stretch marks and spider veins, they can be difficult to treat after they have already appeared. Skin tags, on the other hand, don’t need to affect your skin forever, as long as you remove them safely.
The best thing to remember about skin tags and pregnancy is that sometimes, they will go away on their own after the baby is born. If they don’t, we’ve listed some of the best treatment options. Whether you want a natural home remedy, or you want to use an over-the-counter solution, like the TagBand device, always clear any treatment with your doctor first.
They don’t have to affect your pregnancy or your life negatively. If they don’t disappear after your baby is born, consider your options for cosmetic removal. You may never experience them again after pregnancy. If you do, however, you’re now more equipped to take care of them at home.