Here's why skin tags really form
Chinyere Nkem Illo
July. 13, 2020
If you've just noticed a skin tag on your body that you've never seen before, there's usually no cause for concern. As dermatologist Jeannette Graf told Cosmopolitan , "Skin tags are so normal, and are the most benign things anyone could have." But just because it's nothing to worry about, doesn't mean that you stop thinking about it — or how it actually got there in the first place.
According to Dr. Graf, skin tags commonly form on areas of your body that are exposed to friction. "If you look at where you get them, they always tend to pop up in places where things rub up against your skin frequently," she explained. And where does this type of friction most commonly occur? Areas like your neck and chest seem to be more susceptible, possibly due to wearing jewelry and carrying your bag. Skin tags also can happen on parts of the body where the skin is creased or folded, including the armpits, groin, under the breasts, [and] eyelids, Gretchen Frieling, M.D., a triple board-certified dermatopathologist, explained to Shape .
More reasons why your body forms skin tags
Other factors can contribute to your body developing skin tags. "People who are overweight tend to have more of them and people who are diabetic," Melissa Piliang, a dermatologist at the Cleveland Clinic, revealed to TODAY . "Insulin can induce growth factors, which is why that can happen," she continued. There is also evidence to suggest that genetics play a part. What's more, "[s]ome may also be caused by infection of the skin with human papilloma virus (wart virus)," Catherine Borysiewicz, consultant dermatologist at the Cadogan Clinic, told Glamour UK .
If you really want to know what caused your skin tag, take note of the area and see whether anything is continuously rubbing against your skin — it could even be your T-shirt. And while skin tags require no treatment, if you're worried or want one removed ( do not try it at home ), it's best to head to your doctor or dermatologist to get it checked out.
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