Have you just found a little bump on the skin near your eyes or neck? Chances are it’s a skin tag.
For most people, their first skin tag is a major source of concern. So it pays to learn more about these growths — and how to reduce your chances of getting them.
OK, break it down. What are these things?
In medical speak, they’re called acrochordons, but most people call them skin tabs or tags. They’re mostly harmless growths that can spring up in their hundreds on some people, while a lucky few escape them altogether.
Basically, they’re protruding dark or flesh-colored bits of tissue that often hang from a small, thin, stalk-like piece of skin.
They start out as tiny bumps, and usually stay small, no more than 5mm wide. Some, though, can grow to an unsightly 5cm in diameter.
Why do they appear?
The two main causes are friction and age. Rubbing your eyes a lot can irritate the thin, sensitive skin around it and trigger skin tag growth.
Wearing abrasive fabrics on sensitive areas, like your neck, can also be a cause. If you’re pregnant or overweight, you’re also at higher risk.
Should I get them removed?
Most skin tags just fall off after a while. That said, some can keep growing in size, while others tend to stick around for a long time.
A dermatologist can remove them with laser treatment, but you should never even dream of removing them yourself — leave that to the medics.
What should I do to avoid them?
Moisturizing regularly can help reduce friction when you rub or accidentally scratch skin. And if you’re about to give your eyes a rub — stop right there! Be as gentle as possible with your skin, and make sure you continually cleanse and hydrate to strengthen skin.
For areas other than your face, avoid contact with things that could irritate your skin, like super-tight clothing or excessive amounts of jewelry.