Loads of you are worried about skin tags and literally all a skin tag is is a tag of skin. So, a piece of skin that is protruding from the surface. We very typically find them in areas of friction so that’s why they crop up under the armpits, the back of the neck, sometimes under your breasts, under your belly or even on the inner thighs. We do often them see them in people carrying that little bit more weight. The good news is that skin tags are totally safe and benign and if you’ve got one or two or ten it’s perfectly safe to leave them alone.
Lots of you are curious as to how to tell the difference between a skin tag and a wart. Skin tags usually look skin coloured and they simply crop up and grow out of the skin whereas a wart looks kind of like a cauliflower and sits on top of the skin. If you’re in any doubt at all as to which one it is go and see your doctor and get it checked out.
There have been loads of questions about skin tags in the region of the penis and the vaginal area, is this normal? Well, it’s very normal to get skin tags in areas of friction and therefore that you have the on your penis or you may have them on the outside of your vagina is not sinister. I would however strongly advise you to get these checked out as what patients often think are skin tags could actually be the sign of something far more serious, which are genital warts. Genital warts need to be treated by a doctor where as skin tags can very safely be left alone.
Now, I’ve been looking rather worryingly on the website and it seems there’s a lot of DIY doctors out there when it comes to skin tags. Please, please, please do not try to pull your skin tags off or cut them off it is only going to end in disaster. If you really want to have a go then I’d suggest go into the bathroom, pick up some dental floss and tie it round the neck of the skin tag. Very often that means the blood supply is cut off and in a couple of days it will simply fall off. Otherwise, hands off. For those of you who don’t fancy tying dental floss around your skin tags there are other options if they are irritating you or if they are catching in clothes or if they’re bleeding.
If you see your doctor they may advise simply freezing the skin tag. This involves putting liquid nitrogen on the area which basically gives the skin tag frost bite and it falls off. Now, I know that lots of you have reported because I’ve read it on the website that you can simply go in and buy this treatment in the chemist. You can buy it but it’s only used for warts and verrucas. It’s not appropriate to use this method at home for treating skin tags.
Another method that can be used by doctors is they may simply cut the skin tag off. Again, this isn’t a useful method to do at home as very often the skin tag can bleed, so the doctor can then apply a substance to the area to stop the bleeding or it may even need a stitch. And finally, they can be burnt off. Again, this can be done at the GP’s surgery or by a dermatologist.
Doctor Responses: Skin Tags
In this short video, Dr Pixie answers the most commonly asked questions from the Embarrassing Bodies website about skin tags.
The majority of these questions were taken from the comments section of our skin tags condition guide.
Comments and Questions
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Please note: Unfortunately Channel 4 cannot respond to individual inquiries. If you have any concerns, you can check out NHS Choices, but ultimately it is always best to check with a health professional.