Skin Tag

  • Medical Author:
    Gary W. Cole, MD, FAAD

    Dr. Cole is board certified in dermatology. He obtained his BA degree in bacteriology, his MA degree in microbiology, and his MD at the University of California, Los Angeles. He trained in dermatology at the University of Oregon, where he completed his residency.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Quick GuideRosacea, Acne, Shingles: Common Adult Skin Diseases

Rosacea, Acne, Shingles: Common Adult Skin Diseases

Are skin tags contagious?

No. There is no evidence to suggest that common skin tags are contagious.

What else could it be?

While classic skin tags are typically very characteristic in appearance and occur in specific locations such as the underarms, necks, under breasts, eyelids and groin folds, there are tags that may occur in less obvious locations.

Other skin growths that may look similar to a skin tag but are not tags include moles (dermal nevus), nerve and fiber-type moles (neurofibromas), warts, and "barnacles" or the so-called "Rice Krispies" (seborrheic keratoses).

Warts tend to be rougher, with a "warty" irregular surface whereas skin tags are usually smooth. Warts tend to be flat whereas tags are more like bumps hanging from thin stalk. While warts are almost entirely caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), tags are only sometimes associated with HPV.

Groin and genital lesions resembling skin tags may actually be genital warts or condyloma. A biopsy would help diagnose which of these growths are not skin tags. Very rarely, a basal cell skin or squamous cancer or melanoma may mimic a skin tag, but this is very uncommon.

Skin tag vs. wart

While warts are caused by a virus called human papillomavirus (HPV) and are known to be very contagious, skin tags are not thought to be caused by HPV.

Reviewed on 5/3/2017
References
REFERENCE:

Shah, R., A. Jindal, and N.M. Patel. "Acrochordons as a Cutaneous Sign of Metabolic Syndrome: A Case-Control Study." Ann Med Health Sci Res 4.2 Mar.-Apr. 2014: 202-205.

IMAGES:

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2.iStock, Schweintechnik

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7.iStock, LWozniak & KWZielinski

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13.Getty Images

14.Dr. Nili N. Alai

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