Skin tags are benign and usually painless skin growths that hang off the skin. They may appear anywhere on your body but are most common in areas with folds, such as the armpits, breasts, and genitals.
Dermatologists also refer to skin tags as acrochordons. At least half of all adults have at least one skin tag by the time they reach their 60s.
What are skin tags on genitals?
Skin tags may appear anywhere on your body, but they are most common on body parts where the skin rubs against other skin, such as the folds of the armpits, neck, eyelids, and groin. The genitals are one area where skin tags develop.
Early on, a skin tag may emerge as a soft bump on the skin. As it grows, it looks like a flesh-colored tube that hangs from the body. Usually, skin tags are painless unless they get irritated from getting rubbed against clothing.
Skin tags are usually small, ranging in size from a few millimeters up to five centimeters wide. The exact cause of skin tags is unknown. They are formed from tissue like blood vessels and collagen fibers surrounded by skin.
Remedies for skin tags on genitals
Skin tags are typically painless, but sometimes they may get irritated from friction or getting caught in clothing or jewelry. Since skin tags are harmless and not contagious, it is your choice whether or not you prefer to have them removed.
Are you sure you have skin tags?
If you develop new skin tags, see your dermatologist or gynecologist to confirm that it isn’t a more serious or contagious condition. A doctor can identify skin tags by looking at them, but someone who isn’t trained in medicine may confuse genital warts, skin cancer, or other conditions with skin tags.
What treatments can help?
If you feel embarrassed or uncomfortable having skin tags on your genitals, talk with your gynecologist or dermatologist about skin tag removal options.
There are four main techniques that your doctor may use to remove skin tags:
- Your doctor might perform cryotherapy or freeze them off using liquid nitrogen.
- Sometimes a doctor may perform cauterization, which involves carefully burning the skin tag off with an electrical current.
- Your doctor might opt to remove the tag through ligation, which refers to using a surgical thread to cut off the blood flow to the skin tag.
- Finally, your doctor might surgically remove the skin tag.
What are some skin tag home remedies?
Some home remedies for skin tags include tea tree oil and apple cider vinegar washes.
Although some people try home remedies to remove skin tags, doctors recommend professional treatment if you want to remove a skin tag from a sensitive area like your eyes or genitals. Talk with your doctor about the safest treatment, since some home remedies may harm the sensitive genital skin.
If something goes wrong, self-treatment may cause bleeding, injury, or infection. However, the removal of skin tags is a low risk when performed by a doctor or other medical professional such as a nurse practitioner.
Risks and outlook
Sometimes people mistake genital warts for skin tags. Human papillomavirus causes genital warts. If you develop skin tags on your genitals, be sure to have your doctor look at them and confirm the diagnosis.
Skin Problems and Treatments Resources
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American Academy of Dermatology Association: "5 REASONS TO SEE A DERMATOLOGIST FOR MOLE, SKIN TAG REMOVAL."
American Academy of Dermatology Association: "DIABETES: 12 WARNING SIGNS THAT APPEAR ON YOUR SKIN."
American Osteopathic College of Dermatology: "Skin Tags."
European Journal of Dermatology: "Association between acrochordons and the components of metabolic syndrome."
Harvard Health Publishing: "Skin tag removal: Optional but effective."
Harvard Health Publishing: "Skin Tags (Acrochordon)."
National Health Service: "Skin tags."
Oregon Health & Science University: "Skin Tag Removal."
StatPearls; "Skin Tags."