What Really Causes Skin Tags?

If smooth skin is your goal, then you may be less than thrilled when a skin tag has suddenly shown up on your body. And even if you are welcoming of your skin's new accessory, you're probably curious as to why it has suddenly appeared. So what exactly is a skin tag? According to WebMD, it is a small flap of tissue that protrudes from the skin's surface by a connecting stalk. We know we were taught to love what our mamas gave us, but we weren't born with these additions, and they are permanent, per Harvard Health Publishing. Here's what's really causing skin tags to appear.

First and arguably most important, skin tags are not cancerous. As Healthline states, they are benign growths made from collagen and do not require any treatment. Though, this doesn't mean you should self-diagnose a skin tag. It is always best to consult with a physician on any new skin growth just to be on the safe side.

Skin tags are very common

So why do they suddenly appear? Kateryna Kiselova, a physician at Penn Family Medicine Valley Forge tells Penn Medicine, "It's not clear what causes skin tags, but one possibility is irritation from rubbing within the folds of the skin. This is why obesity can increase your risk," she says. Irritation and rubbing are two possibilities, and it can also be a side effect of weight gain. Harvard Health Publishing states that skin tags often appear after pregnancy and weight gain. It is also noted that they commonly appear as we start to age, and are often found on people aged 60 and older. While they aren't dangerous, they can become painful if rubbed or irritated, Harvard Health Publishing claims. They may start to hurt if the skin tag has been twisted at the base and a blood clot starts to develop.

So aging, weight gain, pregnancy, and rubbing and irritation are all behind skin tags. It is likely we have, or will experience one or more of these in our lifetimes. This means it is likely a skin tag will show up on our skin one day. We're just grateful they are often painless and benign!