If you have been troubled by skin tags then it is understandable that you might want to know what causes them to appear in the first place. We still don’t have a full understanding of the process that drives these skin growths to appear on the body, but are learning a lot about the causes and risk factors.
Learning about the skin tag causes is useful knowledge because it helps ensure that we are better able to deal with them. These skin growths play no real threat to our health but this does not mean that are not the cause for concern.
What is a Skin Tag?
Before we go on to look at the causes of skin tags it is important that we first identify what it is we are talking about. While this type of skin growth is relatively harmless it could be easy to mistake something more sinister as just being a skin tag. If you are even in any doubt then the obvious solution is to speak with a health care professional and make sure that the growth on your is in fact a skin tag. It is also worth mentioning here that skin tag is just a general term used by the public, and that you might also here this skin growth referred to as fibroepithelial polyps, acrochordon, or cutaneous papilloma – these are all basically referring to the same thing.
Skin tags are generally small; they tend to be about ½ inch in length on average. They protrude from the skin by means of a stalk; a small string of connective tissue. The skin tag itself is usually made up blood vessels and fibrous connective tissue. It serves no useful function and if it were removed the body wouldn’t miss it.
Skin tags tend to develop on certain areas of the body; in particular those parts of the body where there are creases in the skin. One of the mechanisms that have been shown to cause the arrival of skin tags is the friction of skin rubbing against skin. The most usual places to find these skin growths include the eyebrows, genitals, face, armpits, and neck.
Skin Tag Causes
Now that we have a better understanding of what skin tags are we can begin to look at what might cause them. As we mentioned at the beginning of this article there is no full explanation and the best we can do is identify those things that seem to increase the risk of developing this type of skin growth.
It has been noted that obese people seem far more likely to develop skin tags than people who are not overweight. This might not be directly related to their diet or lifestyle but more to do with the mechanics of their body. Obese people will have a lot more folds of skin then the rest of the population and so this means that there will be a lot more skin rubbing on skin. As we mentioned above this type of friction has been associated with the development of skin tags so it is understandable that overweight people should be more at risk of them. The good news is that once an individual reduces their weight they should lower their risk of developing more skin tags.
It has been found that pregnant women are more likely to develop skin tags. The obvious reason for why this occurs would be the gaining of weight during pregnancy, possibly leading to more skin friction, but this is not believed to be the only factor. It is also believed that the change in the hormones in a woman’s body during pregnancy is also responsible for the growth of these tags. Once the pregnancy has reached term there should be no further development of skin tags.
Studies have now found that people who have type 2 diabetes are twice as likely to develop skin tags. We are not fully sure why this is the case but there does seem to be some relationship between insulin resistance and he development of this skin growth. Hopefully further research will make what is going on here a bit clearer.
Researchers are convinced that genetics does play a role in why some people develop skin tags. There really are some people who seem to be more prone to developing this type of skin growth. This is probably why some obese people will develop skin tags while others just won’t. We seem to be a long way from identifying a gene that cause this type of growth but maybe this day will one day come. The fact that skin tags are harmless means there is not enough funding for this type of research.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
HPV is another possible contributing factor to the occurrence of skin tags; this virus has already been identified as contributing to a number of other skin growths. HPV is best known for its link to genital warts and cervical cancer. The link between HPV and skin tags though is not believed to indicate anything sinister.
Final Thoughts on the Causes of Skin Tags
We still have a long way to go before we fully understand the causes of skin tags, but we already have a lot of knowledge about the condition. The fact that these skin growths are considered harmless should offer some reassurance to people, but people might still decide that they would rather not have them on their body. Luckily there are a number of treatments available for dealing with skin tags and these can work really well without any risk. In fact if your skin tags are a cause of embarrassment there really is no reason why you should endure the situation. Most skin tags will eventually disappear by themselves but there is no reason to wait for this day to arrive when there are good solutions to the problem. Of course if your skin tags don’t bother you then just ignoring them is perfectly acceptable too.