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What are skintags?

In basic terms, skin tags are small growths that hang off your skin and they're extremely common but essentially harmless.

What skin tags look like?

Skin tags are small, soft, skin-coloured growths on your skin. They can vary in colour and size – from a few millimetres up to 5cm (about 2 inches) wide.

They are usually found on the neck, armpits, around the groin, or under the breasts, but they can also grow on the eyelids or under the folds of the buttocks.

They can look like warts, but skin tags are usually smooth and soft whereas warts tend to be rougher with an irregular surface. Skin tags are also knobbly and hang off the skin whereas warts are usually slightly raised or flat. The good news is that skin tags are not contagious unlike warts which spread very easily, so a sudden outbreak or cluster of growths is more likely to be warts.

Why do skin tags occur?

Skin tags are made of loose collagen fibres and blood vessels surrounded by skin. Both men and women can develop skin tags, but they tend to occur in older people and (significantly) people who are obese or have prediabetes or type-2 diabetes.

Why do Skin tags matter?

If you have a diet high in carbs and sugars, your insulin will be high as a result. (Insulin controls blood sugar, so more sugar = more insulin). But insulin has numerous actions on the body, one of which is cell-proliferation. Uncontrolled cell-growth is a bad thing however, which is why people with type2 diabetes are more prone to cancer.

Skin tags are harmless but they DO indicate that your insulin levels are probably too high.

An important thing to remember is to never attempt to remove large skin tags yourself because they'll bleed heavily.