How Do Skin Tags Spread? Are They Caused by a Virus?
Whenever you get a benign skin growth, it’s understandable that you want to know if it’s contagious. Perhaps you had one skin tag, but now a cluster has appeared in the same area? The good news is that skin tags don’t appear to be caused by a virus or infection.
There simply isn’t enough evidence to suggest that skin tags can be passed from person to person by touching. To understand this concept more thoroughly, it’s important to know not only what a skin tag is, but the possible causes.
Skin tags can also be confused with other possible skin growths that are contagious, such as warts and STD’s. Skin tags are harmless, but they’re not a welcome addition to the body.
Can you catch skin tags due to a virus? There’s no medical evidence to suggest that this is possible. However, there is much to know about what causes skin tags and how to can get rid of skin tags at home. Rest assured, you don’t have to stay away from anyone who has one.
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Are Skin Tags Contagious?
It’s likely that you’ll get a skin tag due to factors in your own life. While there is no one concrete reason as to why skin tags develop, there are several notable theories that have been well-adopted as the most realistic causes.
Skin tags are most common in people over the age of 50, but almost anyone can get them at any age. They are most commonly caused by friction – the rubbing of skin against skin, or another object.
When your skin rubs against something and creates friction, it is believed the constant rubbing is what causes a skin tag to form. That’s why they are most prominent in areas like under the arms, or around the neck.
Tight clothing and jewelry can also be a culprit for too much friction. If you’re wearing ill-fitted clothing, and it causes too much rubbing against your skin in one specific spot, you could develop a skin tag.
Skin tags are also common in pregnant women. This is not only due to friction, but a sudden shift in hormones.
What’s the Difference between Skin Tags and Warts?
People sometimes get confused on whether skin tags are contagious or not because they compare skin tags to warts. Warts can be very contagious, so it’s important to know the differences between the two types of growths.
Skin tags are a flap-like shape that protrudes directly from the skin. Sometimes, people may not even notice they have a skin tag because they are usually the same color as your skin. Occasionally, they may be darker.
Warts have more of a cylindrical shape. They do not dangle off the skin in the way that a skin tag might. Warts can appear on their own with pink or white hues, or they can appear in clusters almost anywhere on the skin. Warts are caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). That’s what makes them so contagious.
You can contract HPV and warts from skin-to-skin contact. If you touch a wart on someone’s body, you can become instantly exposed to the virus, and you may notice the growths on your skin not long after.
Warts are also considered to be benign skin growths. Unlike skin tags, most warts will usually go away on their own. However, it can take months or even years for them to disappear. Because of their unsightly appearance, and unfortunate stigmas that tend to go along with them, most people choose to remove their warts as quickly as possible.
Is it Necessary to Remove Skin Tags?
Because skin tags are completely benign, it is not necessary to remove them unless you notice changes in the skin tag, it becomes painful, or your doctor recommends it. Skin tags are so common that having one on a discrete part of your body may not bother you at all.
If, however, you have a skin tag on a prominently visible area, you may choose to remove it for vanity reasons. This will also become the case if it becomes irritated by clothing or jewelry.
How to Remove a Skin Tag
Skin tags can be removed through a variety of different treatment options. You should never attempt to pick at or pull off a skin tag. This can cause them to bleed, and put you at risk for infection.
For a skin tag to fall off, it must be robbed of blood flow and circulation. Skin tags have a stalk that connects them to the body. By cutting off the blood supply from the stalk, the skin tag will eventually shrivel and fall away.
Many people use home remedies to treat skin tags. Some of the most popular solutions include:
Over-the-counter solutions are also available, like the TagBand device. Some people have even found success with certain wart removers when it comes to freezing away skin tags.
If you want a skin tag removed quickly, you can see a dermatologist. Skin tags can be removed surgically, through excision, cryogenics (freezing off the tag) or cauterization (burning off the skin tag).
All of these procedures are typically quick and painless. However, because skin tags are considered harmless, insurance does not cover medical procedures to remove them.
Can You Catch Skin Tags?
You cannot catch skin tags from another person. If you notice a skin tag for the first time, consider how friction may have caused it. Are your clothes too tight? Is a piece of jewelry irritating the skin? Additionally, make sure the growth you’re looking at is not a wart or another type of skin growth.
Skin tags don’t spread from person to person, but they can become irritated or infected. If you do have a skin tag that becomes problematic, see a dermatologist immediately.