Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"What are skin tags?"

ZocdocAnswersWhat are skin tags?


My boyfriend has these weird little things growing on his back. He says they're just skin tags. What are skin tags? Are they dangerous in any way?


Skin lesions on the back can have many different causes and the specialists involved in the diagnosis and treatment include internists and dermatologists. Skin tags are an outgrowth of normal skin. They occur in about one quarter of all adults, and increase in frequency with age. The tendency to have skin tags often runs in the family. Skin tags can appear during pregnancy and are found perianally in patients with Crohn's disease as well. Skin tags usually occur in sites of friction in the arm pits, neck and groin regions and only become symptomatic when caught on clothing or jewelery. Sometimes they turn red or black if they become twisted on their blood supply. Diagnosis of skin tags is based only on clinical appearance and they must be differentiated from other skin lesions based on examination by a professional. Treatment of skin tags do not prevent new skin tags from forming in predisposed areas but often to prevent recurrences of the same skin tag. It is not possible to come to a diagnosis without examining the patient with skin findings. The strong recommendation is therefore to get a referral to a dermatologist and get evaluated in person.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.