Skin tags on the neck can’t become a worrying issue due to its visibility to the public, and an attempt to cover it with clothing might lead to irritation. Irritation can trigger inflammation which could result to pain and you feeling uncomfortable.
You might be wondering, what exactly are skin tags, what causes them and why do you have them on your neck and other parts of your body. In due time, you’ll get to know more about these skin tumors and how you can rid yourself of them and prevent such recurrence.
Skin tags are dermatological lesions which are benign in nature. This means they are harmless, unlike malignant tumors that cause damage to the body. They are easily recognized as they are characterized by a small, soft fleshy bump hanging on your skin with a narrow stalk. The color of a skin tag is usually the same with that of your skin color. Although, it might get a shade darker if it is deprived of oxygen.
While friction is said to be the main cause of skin tags, they are other factors that could be responsible for such benign skin tumors called skin tags. In general, it is believed that medical conditions that affect the body’s control have a hand in the formation of skin tags.
These conditions range from genetics, hormonal fluctuations, and obesity to type-2 diabetes.
In this guide, you will learn everything you need to know about skin tags – identifying skin tags, removing skin tags and aftercare treatment options.
How To Identify Skin Tags Around The Neck
It is easy to mistake skin tags for other skin growth that might form on your skin. The characteristic of the skin tag include
They are soft, smooth skin outgrowths that hang on the skin on the end of a stalk
They are usually small (about 3mm to 5mm) in sizes. There might be bigger, and some might grow to the size of a grape which is rare though.
They have the same color as your skin. They sometimes could turn a shade darker
You’ll likely find them on areas of the body with skin folds and where friction tends to occur the most, e.g., the neck, the eyelids, armpits, and area around the groin.
They do not cause pain except when irritated or inflamed. An injury to the skin tag could also lead to pain and discomfort.
Skin tags usually retain the skin color of their owner and rarely changes except when it’s been irritated or deprived of oxygen.
What Causes Skin Tags Around The Neck?
Skin Rubbing Against Clothing, Jewelry or Itself
If we are to go by the explanation of friction being the main cause of skin tags due to where it form, it isn’t far-fetched why we made this number one.
Constant rubbing of the skin against fabrics or pieces of jewelry leads to friction which could cause skin tags to form on the neck.
Putting on tight necklaces or shirts increases your chances of having a skin tag appear on your neck due to the constant rubbing of the skin against the necklace or shirt.
Overweight and obese individuals have a lot of skin surrounding their body. Extra skins are also around the neck which tends to rub against each other.
Hormonal fluctuation and imbalances could also lead to the formation of skin tags on the neck (and on other areas of the body). Hormones play a significant role that cannot be underestimated in our daily lives. They have been studies that suggest a link exist between the hormone – leptin and the formation of skin tags and hormones. The study indicated that leptin could play a major role in the pathogenesis of skin tags due to its effects on keratinocytes, fibroblasts, and vascular endothelium.
Various studies, like this one, has also shown an association between insulin and skin tags. The male sex hormone (androgen) and the female sex hormone (estrogen) has also been shown to play a role in the pathogenesis of skin tags.
As you can see, there a lot of hormones in the body that are possible culprits for the formation of skin tags. Fluctuation and imbalances of these hormones could play a massive role in the formation of the skin lesions known as skin tags.
Hormonal Fluctuation Associated with Pregnancy
The level of estrogen becomes elevated during pregnancy. During pregnancy, studies such as this one have shown that majority of the women undergoes complex and significant skin changes. Physiological and dermatological changes being one of them. Skin tags (soft fibromas) often formed during the stages of pregnancy and usually fall off after birth.
Weight Gain or Obesity
Obese people are more susceptible to have skin growths on their body than their normal-sized counterparts. Research has shown that a correlation exists between increased body mass index with the occurrence of skin tags.
Moreso, obese or overweight people tend to have extra skin on their body leading to extra skin folds and skin rubbing against each other. Friction, as it has been observed, can lead to the appearance of soft fibromas (skin tags) on your body.
People with obesity and gradual weight gain has also been found to experience hormonal imbalances. Hormonal imbalances could lead to dermatological changes which could cause the formation of a type of skin lesions called skin tags.
Insulin Resistance or Type 2 Diabetes
Insulin is a hormone secreted in the pancreas that is responsible for the regulation of blood glucose levels in the body. When your body doesn’t respond well to insulin, you’ve got a condition termed as insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a precursor to prediabetes, and if measures aren’t taken to treat it, it could lead to diabetes.
Insulin resistance has been linked to the occurrences of skin tags on the body. Studies have also shown that individuals with multiple skin tags have a higher risk of diabetes mellitus. This means skin tags could act as a cutaneous marker for diabetes mellitus. This indicates a sort of relationship between skin tags and diabetes.
Use of Steroids
The use of steroids can affect the hormonal balance of the body. This could cause a dermatological shift or changes in the body which could lead to the formation of skin tags.
The occurrence of skin tags tends to increase as you grow older. It is a common belief that the older you get, the higher your chances of having skin tags if you don’t have one already. It isn’t far from the truth. The effects of the aging process cause a change in our skin. The skin becomes thinner and common in older adults.
Genetic or Hereditary Factors
For some, skin tags tend to run in the family. If you found out that a member of the family has or had skin tags in the past, you’re more likely to have it.
Removal Of Skin Tags On Your Neck Safely
There are various skin tag removal methods you can use to get rid of the skin tags on your neck.
Some of these methods would be discussed below. Depending on what treatment options you’re opting for, be it medical options by visiting a doctor or by removing them yourself using over-the-counter solutions.
A crucial factor that determines which solution to go for in most cases is the cost of treatment. The cost of removing skin tags varies and depends on various factors.
Medical Treatment (Removal By A Doctor or Dermatologist)
Once you start to notice a bump on your neck, visiting a doctor can help you identify if it’s a benign tumor or a malignant growth. Except if they are many, in a cluster and your skin need time to heal properly before removing them, your doctor can have all of them removed on your first visit.
When it comes to getting rid of the benign tumors on your neck, your doctor will use any of the following method or a combo of it.
Cauterization: this method involves the use of heat using a cautery pen or device to burn off the tumor. The source of heat for the procedure is usually via electric currents.
OTC Alternatives: You’ll find various medical cautery pens at various stores that you can use in removing the skin tags for yourself. There are creams that also induce cauterization when applied to the skin.
It is advisable to be extra careful when using this method to avoid causing injury to healthy skins of your body. A doctor is most preferred if you would love to use this method.
Cryotherapy: this involves the use of low temperatures to remove the tumors on your necks. The doctor freezes the skin tags (using liquid nitrogen) on your neck which cut off the flow of blood to the skin tags. As a result, the skin tags begin to dry, shrink and eventually fall off due to lack of oxygen, nutrients, and blood.
OTC Alternatives: Dr. Scholl Freeze Away Wart Remover, NitroFreeze, and so many others medical freeze spray are available to buy over the counter. You need to be careful though when using OTC alternatives as you have to ensure that the product you use can freeze deeply.
Surgical Excision: skin tag(s) removal with the aid of a sterilized surgical knife or blade. Using this method, your doctor will apply a numbing cream or spray to the areas of the skin tags and proceed to remove them with a scalpel, scissors or blade.
This method is arguably the fastest method to remove the skin tags on your neck but also one of the dangerous method with serious complications if not done right.
Your doctor will help sterilize the wound formed after the removal and possibly give you some antibiotics to fight infections. You might be given some pain reliever too to relieve you of the pain caused.
OTC Alternatives: A sharp nail cutter, scissor or blade can get the job done. Cutting off skin tags can be messy if not done right and can lead to bleeding. Before cutting off the skin tags, you want to make sure you sterilized your cutting blade and use a numbing cream.
Ligation: A prevalent method due to how easy it is to use. If your doctor decides to use ligation, your doctor will tie a thread tightly around the peduncle (neck) of your skin tumors.
By doing this, the supply of blood flowing into the skin tags are cut off. When this happens, the tissues of the tumors gradually start to die and dry out. Eventually, they fall off on their own after a couple of days or weeks.
OTC Alternatives: TagBand Removal Kit is a simple and effective product that helps to remove the skin tags on your neck or other parts of your body easily without stress. The use of dental floss is quite popular and widely used at home to get rid of skin tags.
Are There Ways To Prevent Them?
Since no conclusive research has been gotten on the cause of skin tags, we can only base our advice on the plausible explanation given so far about what causes them.
Try to avoid putting on tight clothing. Wearing tight clothing might lead to the constant rubbing of the neck against the fabrics which might increase the friction in the area. This could lead to the formation of skin tags.
Avoid putting on objects on the neck to avoid constant friction.