How to Identify, Remove, and Prevent Skin Tags, According to Dermatologists


“The mother can grow all kinds of things on her skin during pregnancy. Moles on the abdomen can change, skin tags can form or become enlarged. It’s just part of the normal, physiologic changes that women go through in pregnancy,” says Geraghty.

Skin tags have also been linked to diabetes. “We know that diabetics are more prone to them. More research is needed to know exactly why that is scientifically, but there’s some correlation that we observed with diabetes,” says Geraghty. Though doctors don’t fully understand why, the body’s resistance to insulin might have something to do with it.

Reducing skin friction — like not wearing necklaces that can rub on the skin — can help keep new tags from developing, says Nguyen, who adds that removed skin tags don’t typically grow back, though new ones may grow in the same general area where tags have previously popped up. A healthy diet and lifestyle can help keep blood sugar levels low, which may also help prevent skin tags from forming.

Skin Conditions That Look Like Skin Tags But Aren’t

If you’re worried that something on your skin isn’t a skin tag but perhaps something else, you should have a dermatologist check it out. “Other fleshy-appearing growths including anything from warts to worrisome skin cancers such as basal cell carcinoma and even life-threatening melanoma can look like skin tags,” says Marchbein. Common skin conditions that aren’t skin tags but look like skin tags are seborrheic keratoses and neurofibromas.

Seborrheic keratoses are extremely common on the neck. Like skin tags, these often form in areas of high friction. “On women, the chest, neck, underarm area, and even under the bra line are common sites for these lesions to form, though they can form anywhere on the skin,” explains Geraghty.

“Neurofibromas are just little skin-colored, fleshy papules. These little bumps are very common,” says Geraghty. Some people hear “neurofibroma” and may think of the genetic syndrome called neurofibromatosis; neurofibromas, which are benign, can be seen in neurofibromatosis (a genetic condition), but most people have neurofibromas without having the genetic syndrome neurofibromatosis. “Neurofibroma lesions can happen even without that syndrome, and typically that’s the case.”

Get Any Growth Checked

Ultimately, it’s best to go to a professional, not only to remove skin tags, but to be sure what you’re looking at is, in fact, a skin tag. “It’s very important to be examined, diagnosed, and treated by a board-certified dermatologist,” Marchbein says, “so that any potentially concerning lesion can be biopsied quickly and treated in a timely manner without delay.”


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