In general, older adults are the demographic most prone to skin tags. Women may get them slightly more often than men, possibly because they may appear more frequently during pregnancy. People who are overweight and those who have diabetes may be more likely to develop skin tags than other groups of people. Areas that rub against each other can be prone to skin tags, as the most common areas for these tissue flaps to occur are in the armpits, chest, back, neck, and groin area. These flaps don’t usually hurt, but they can become irritated.
I always reassure patients that removal is a simple process. Sometimes it’s as easy as taking sterile scissors or a scalpel and snipping them off. Patients usually experience little to no pain with this method of removal. For a larger flap, I may use a local anesthesia to prevent discomfort. Cryosurgery is another removal option that involves freezing the tag. Electrosurgery involves burning off the skin tag with a small, electric current.
After determining the causes of skin tags, patients don’t usually need to have them removed for physical reasons. However, they may cause discomfort if clothing or jewelry rubs against them, or if frction irritates them. Anytime they affect personal self-esteem, I recommend that a patient have them removed. The removal process is so simple and painless, that I can usually perform it with little preparation and minimal recovery for the patient.