Small bits of skin that protrude or hang from the surface of the skin are called skin tags. These benign lesions, which occur more often in adults than in children, are attached to the surrounding skin by a thin stalk. A tag may look similar to a raised mole, with a brownish color, or it can hang from skin and remain flesh-colored. Linked to genetic predisposition, skin tags occur in a quarter of the adult population, most commonly in areas where the skin contacts clothing.

Although genetics, pregnancy, and certain medical conditions seem to increase the risk of skin tags, the primary trigger is believed to be the friction that occurs between two areas of skin, or between skin and clothing. Some of the areas tags may develop include:

  • Neck
  • Eyelids
  • Groin
  • Underarms
  • Upper chest, or under the breasts

Skin tags are not skin cancer lesions but do require a doctor to evaluate to distinguish them from more concerning lesions like skin cancer. Skin tags are typically not painful, however, discomfort can sometimes occur if they get traumatized (such as when a tag gets scratched or becomes caught in clothing or jewelry).

Sometimes a skin tag will turn dark brown or black. This is usually due to the loss of blood supply of the tissue, which may result in the tag falling off within a few days. If a skin tag changes color but does not fall off, visiting our office for an evaluation.

After an evaluation, most often a skin tag can be removed from a cosmetic standpoint. There are several ways to remove bothersome skin tags. Your physician will discuss your options and answer any questions you have regarding the removal process, or the development of skin tags. Professional removal of existing tags is safe and effective, leading you to a greater degree of comfort.