What are skin tags?
Did you know that your skin is your body’s largest organ? It’s easy to notice lumps, bumps, and discoloration. As you age, skin tags may become more and more prevalent. They don’t pose any risks, but they can be bothersome.
Skin tags are tiny growths that occur in the folds of your skin. Your neck, armpits, groin, and eyelids are the most common areas. These fleshy growths are usually very tiny, but they do stick out.
Skin tags can appear to be little flaps since they move around when touched. You may not notice skin tags when they first appear. They tend to be the same color as your skin or slightly darker.
Causes of skin tags
The exact cause of skin tags is unknown. Genetics may be a factor since they can run in families. The most common theory is that the repeated friction of skin rubbing against itself causes skin tags to form.
Skin tags are common among people with diabetes, so resistance to insulin may also be a factor.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) has been found to be present in a large number of people with skin tags. It may also be a significant factor.
Who can have skin tags?
Anyone can develop skin tags. They are more common with increased age. If your family members have skin tags, you are more prone to develop them.
Other factors include obesity. Having additional folds of skin increases friction, leaving you more prone to develop new skin tags.
How do you know if you have skin tags?
Skin tags have a rather unique shape, so they are easy to identify. In rare cases, they may be confused with other skin conditions like:
- Moles: These are usually larger than skin tags. While they can stick out from the skin, they are usually flat and round. Moles tend to be red, pink, or brown. Unlike skin tags, moles can develop into skin cancer.
- Warts: Similar to skin tags, warts can be the same color as your flesh. They are also raised from the skin. They are typically larger than skin tags and have a rough texture.
Diagnosis for skin tags
Only a licensed healthcare professional can diagnose skin tags. Visual diagnosis is typically sufficient to diagnose skin tags.
The only time your doctor may request additional testing is if they suspect a different skin condition. In that case, a biopsy will be completed to test the skin cells. You may also need to have a blood draw to rule out another medical condition.
Tea tree oil treatment for skin tags
Tea tree oil is considered a natural remedy and is well known for treating skin conditions. Unlike other natural remedies whose claims are anecdotal, tea tree oil is scientifically proven to be an effective skin treatment.
Tea tree oil is considered a natural treatment, but it can be toxic when used incorrectly. For example, you can apply tea tree oil to your skin, but you should never ingest it..
You can apply tea tree oil to your skin tags at night before you go to bed. Cover them with a bandage so that the tea tree oil doesn’t rub off. You may have to do this for several days in a row before your skin tags fall off.
Complications and risks with tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is safe when applied topically in small doses. You may see redness or experience irritation. If this happens, discontinue use and seek out other options for removing your skin tags.
Tea tree oil is highly concentrated and toxic when consumed, even in small doses. It should never be ingested. While adults may experience milder symptoms if it is ingested, tea tree oil is extremely dangerous for children and can cause serious harm.
Keep it away from your pets as well. Tea tree oil is toxic for animals. Symptoms of ingestion include:
- Weak muscles and shaking
- Difficulty walking
- Low body temperature
- Excessive salivation
Always talk to your doctor before trying an at-home remedy. They can provide guidance on how to treat your skin tags with tea tree oil safely and recommend which symptoms to watch out for.
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American Osteopathic College of Dermatology: "SKIN TAGS."
Harvard Medical School: "Skin tag removal: Optional but effective."
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: "Tea tree oil."
National Health Service: "Skin tags."
Poison Control: "Tea tree oil."
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