Skin tags

Last updated:

Reviewed by:

Dr Bryony Henderson

, Lead GP at Livi

Medically reviewed

Skin tags are harmless growths of skin that can appear anywhere on the body, usually in areas where your skin rubs together. Read about the causes and how they can be treated if they're giving you problems.

What are skin tags?

Skin tags are harmless growths of skin. They’re made from collagen, blood vessels and skin. They’re usually the same colour as your skin and can vary in size from a few millimetres to several centimetres wide.

Skin tags are usually found in folds of skin, in areas where the skin rubs together. Common areas include the:

  • Armpit

  • Groin

  • Neck

  • Eyelids

  • Anal area

What causes skin tags?

Skin tags are usually formed from friction. Hormonal changes can also cause skin tags, so pregnant women are more likely to get them. Older people, those with type 2 diabetes and obesity are also more prone to developing skin tags. 

How are skin tags treated?

Skin tags are usually painless and cause no harm, so they’re usually fine to leave as they are. Some will eventually fall off on their own.

If a skin tag is bothering you in any way, removal may be an option. They can be burnt or frozen off, in a similar manner to warts, or they can be removed surgically under local anaesthetic.

Don’t try removing them yourself as there’s a risk they’ll bleed and get infected.

How are skin tags different from warts? 

There are a few distinguishing features between skin tags and warts.

Skin tags are usually painless, while warts can sometimes hurt.

Skin tags are often soft, smooth and quite regular in shape, whereas warts can be quite bumpy and irregular. 

Skin tags are also unlikely to spread, whereas warts can grow in clusters and can spread quite quickly. If you notice a group of growths, these are more likely to be warts.

Warts will resolve over time but skin tags will, normally, remain. 

When should I talk to a doctor about a skin tag?

If you have a skin tag that’s causing you trouble, speak to a doctor. Skin tags can also look like warts or moles, so it’s a good idea to have a doctor take a look. They can advise you on the best way to find relief. 

Last updated:
Reviewed by:
Dr Bryony Henderson, Lead GP at Livi