Why do people get skin tags? If you are perplexed by that question, you’re not alone. Before we attempt to find the answer, let’s take a closer look at some facts about them.
The medical name for them is an ‘acrochordon,’ and they are common. Skin tags are benign (harmless) growths or small flaps that are attached to the skin by a thin stalk, called a ‘peduncle.’ They may be a symptom of an underlying health problem in adults (more on that later), and they can be very irritating.
They are medically considered to be a cosmetic, not health, problem. Consequently, don’t expect to get any financial help from your health insurance policy if you want to get rid of them. That said, you may get help to meet the cost of a biopsy or an infection (if applicable).
They commonly appear where you have folds of skin, such as the eyelids, testicles, underarms, face, neck, and groin. People tend to seek out the best way to get rid of skin tags if they’re in an awkward or highly-visible place.
There are many treatments available that work and even more that are completely useless. Here are some over-the-counter skin tag removers that we like. There aren’t too many, and we’ve been highly critical of the ones that we do like.
Why Do People Get Skin Tags?
While nobody is 100% certain, some studies have observed a correlation between skin tags and extremely low-risk variations of the human papillomavirus (HPV).
Experts have also noticed a genetic factor as they tend to run in families. You’re far more likely to get skin tags if one or both of your parents have them. Nobody knows why this is the case, but there may be a connection.
You’ll likely have noticed that skin tags often grow in the skin folds. That’s why many medical experts believe that friction is likely to be the primary cause. The situation is made worse by sweatiness as this just adds to the irritation.
Who Is Most at Risk?
Anything up to half of the population is affected by skin tags, so there are many others in the same position. While this doesn’t help you, it’s reassuring to know that you don’t have some rare and exotic skin condition.
A higher incidence has been identified in specific categories, most notably older people, the obese, pregnant women, and diabetics. You’ll notice features that each category shares, but none of the ’causes’ are scientifically proven.
Obesity means that you’re likely to have far more skin folds than the average person. This means that there’s going to be more sweating, rubbing, and irritation. People who are carrying excess weight also experience additional hormonal changes, which is also believed to be a contributing factor for pregnant women. And let’s face it, we all have varying levels of estrogen and testosterone.
Nobody quite knows why hormones influence the development of skin tags, but there’s something there that triggers this skin condition.
It is estimated that between 50% and 60% of all people who are aged over 50 have skin tags. It has been found that they are most common among older (senior) women.
The likelihood of getting skin tags increases steeply with age. Older adults don’t have the same skin elasticity as younger people. Consequently, there’s far more skin-on-skin friction than is experienced by younger people. Nobody is entirely safe from this skin complaint.
There is a strong correlation between skin tags and diabetes. While skin tags are harmless skin growths, they are a warning sign that we may be on the road to a more serious medical problem.
It’s worth getting your cholesterol, blood sugar levels and other primary health checks performed. It’s possible that skin tags are the body’s way of letting you know that we need to make some lifestyle changes.
What complicates matters is that there are a variety of other reasons why they may occur. It’s easy enough to get some basic checks performed so that you can rule out a more serious medical concern. It’s better to be safe than sorry, right?
If you’re expecting a baby, you’re bound to be going through a lot of hormonal changes. Unfortunately, you’re also more likely to get skin tags during pregnancy. As if you didn’t need any further health complaints to make your life more difficult.
If you do plan to treat the skin tags yourself, it’s advisable to use only natural methods, such as tea tree oil. You can learn more about tea tree oil and skin tags in this post. It’s not a quick fix (takes 4 to 8 weeks), but it works for most people. You should dilute it with a carrier oil if you know that your skin is more sensitive than the average person. So that you know, tea tree oil is toxic if consumed orally.
Some people see their doctor, and they remove them. The attitude of your doctor to treatment will vary. It’s advisable to wait until after you’ve had your baby because they often go away on their own once the body’s hormone levels regulate. It doesn’t happen for all women, but you might get lucky.
Why do people get skin tags? Are there other possible reasons? Well, aside from the different categories of person that fall into higher-risk groups, there are certain things that we all do each day that increase the incidence.
Wearing tight clothes and jewelry is a contributing factor because it leads to additional friction. Anything that you do that causes the regular rubbing of the skin increases the risk of skin tags significantly. It won’t make your current skin tags go away, unfortunately.
There is no way to guarantee that you won’t get skin tags, but there are things that will help with skin tag prevention. The best thing that you can do is lose weight and avoid wearing tight-fitting clothes. If you don’t like having these small skin growths, you can get them removed.