What Causes Skin Tags?

Skin Tags

Skin tags are a common skin problem with nearly 25 percent people developing skin tags which usually form after the age of 50. Skin tags frequently occur in individuals with diabetes or those who are obese or overweight.

In people who are overweight, the skin tends to undergo repetitive friction which causes the development of skin tags. This is why skin tags usually develop in folds of the body. Some factors which lead to skin tag development are repetitive friction and wearing tight clothing, especially in overweight individuals.

Therefore, people who are overweight should ideally avoid tight clothing to prevent the development of skin tags. Prudent board certified dermatologist Dr. Jamie McGinness provides skin care treatments to patients in Shiloh, IL; St. Louis, MO, and surrounding locations in this region of the nation.

Nature of Skin Tags

Skin tags refer to nonmalignant skin tumors. They comprise a center of ducts and fibers, fat cells, nerve cells, as well as a covering or epidermis.

Common areas for the development of skin tags are as follows:

  • upper chest
  • armpits
  • eyelids
  • beneath the breasts
  • groin
  • neck (in the case of papilloma colli)

Skin tags are often inconspicuous unless they are placed in a prominent area or undergo repetitive rubbing or scratching. This could occur due to clothing, jewelry or while shaving.

Some people with skin tags may never even notice them. Skin tags may also rub or fall off in a painless manner in some cases. Substantial skin tags may burst under pressure. The skin tag could have a smooth or uneven surface. Usually, they are elevated from the skin’s surface of fleshy peduncles or stalks. Skin tags are typically slightly brownish or skin-colored.

When skin tags develop, they are initially small and flattened like a pinhead bump. While some tags remain small, other may become bigger. They are sized between two millimeters (mm) and one centimeter (cm) in diameter and can grow as big as 5 cm.


The exact cause of skin tags is unclear. However, they may develop when collagen and blood vessel clusters are trapped within dense fragments of skin.

Since they commonly occur in the folds and creases of the skin, they may occur due to the friction caused by skin rubbing against skin. Some individuals are genetically predisposed to the development of skin tags.

Skin tags occur in men as well as women. However, they develop more frequently during pregnancy, in overweight people, and diabetes patients. There seems to be some association between skin tags and hyperinsulinemia (a condition where there is excessive insulin in the blood).

Risk Factors Associated with Skin Tags

Skin tags are more commonly seen in the following:

  • Obese and overweight people
  • Diabetes patients
  • Pregnant women, possibly because of hormonal fluctuations and high levels of growth factors
  • People with some forms of human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Individuals with a sex-steroid imbalance, particularly if there are changes in the estrogen and progesterone levels
  • People with close relatives who also have skin tags

Focused board certified dermatologist Dr. Jamie McGinness receives patients from Shiloh, IL; St. Louis, MO, and other communities and neighborhoods in this part of the US for skin care treatments.

If you would like to learn more about procedures and treatments at Metro East Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center by Board Certified Dermatologist Dr. Jamie L. McGinness please contact us here or call (618) 622-SKIN (7546)

Taking new patients in and around the greater St. Louis, Missouri and Illinois area: East St. Louis Missouri, Shiloh Illinois, Belleville, Millstadt, Saint Clair County, Madison County and more.

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