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Are Skin Tags Common During Pregnancy? Yes, And Here’s Why.

Pregnancy brings many changes to a mother’s body. These changes occur as the body prepares to accommodate a developing fetus and give birth after nine months.

Specific changes may or may not be familiar to all. And sometimes, some of these changes may not make sense in how it’s connected to growing a child. One of which is skin tags.

Read along as this article aims to discuss skin tags in pregnant women, including their causes and treatments.


What are pregnancy skin tags?

Skin tags are one of those overlooked pregnancy-related side effects that some women encounter; they are tiny growths of tissue that protrude from the skin’s surface.

Almost always, skin tags are benign and don’t develop or become more prominent over time. However, the exact cause of these skin tags is unknown. In most cases, these are innocuous and do not necessitate medical attention.


Where do skin tags most commonly form during pregnancy?

Skin tag on neck

Pregnancy skin tags commonly appear in regions with skin folds, such as the neck, armpits, or under the breasts.

One of the hypothesized causes of skin tag production is heightened friction. Therefore they may arise more frequently in areas of weight gain, which means that skin tags could be found in differing parts of the body of pregnant women, depending on where they gain weight.


What causes skin tags during pregnancy?

Around 20 percent of women report dermatological changes during pregnancy, and roughly 12 percent will appear as skin tags. The reasons for the appearance of skin tags also differ.


Weight gain

Increased friction brought on by weight growth may be the root cause of pregnancy skin tags. Skin tags may develop in some regions, such as the neck or the area where the weight gain increases friction, such as the armpits.


Hormonal fluctuations

Researchers discovered a strong positive correlation between the number of skin tags and hormone leptin levels; therefore, skin tags during pregnancy may also be caused by hormonal changes.

Leptin is a hormone that can increase the differentiation and development of epithelial (skin) cells. Fat tissue from both a pregnant woman and the fetus release leptin, which may explain the abrupt surge in skin tag formation during pregnancy.

Another relationship between hormones and skin tags was found in a study conducted in 2010, wherein increased estrogen levels cause skin tags. The fact that most skin tag production happens during puberty, a period of significant hormonal shifts, gives credence to this theory.


Other Causes

There have been other proposed reasons for skin tags that may not necessarily relate exclusively to pregnant women. These are insulin sensitivity and heredity.


What do skin tags look like?

Skin tag

Skin tags can look different from each other because they can range in color and size from a few millimeters to 5cm. However, all skin tags are small and have soft growths on the skin’s surface.

Skin tags might resemble warts, but they are different in many ways:

  1. Skin tags are soft, while warts can be rough.
  2. Skin tags are knobbly, while warts can be flat on the skin or just slightly raised.
  3. Warts spread while skin tags don’t. However, if they do, they should be a cause for worry.


Are skin tags painful?

Fortunately, skin tags are typically painless unless they are rubbed against by clothing or jewelry and twist, irritate, or inflamed.

Therefore, if they are too bothersome already, one can opt for Skin tag Removal. You may contact Team Dermatology at any of their locations in Houston, and Sugar Land, Texas.


Treatment for pregnancy skin tags

Compare skin tags removal before and after treatment concept

Like other changes that appear during pregnancy and disappear once you give birth, pregnancy tags can also be temporary. However, if these skin tags decide to stay, there are treatment options you can take to get rid of them.


Medical Remedies

Choosing medical remedies necessitates visiting the doctor’s or dermatologist’s office, like Team Dermatology.

Here are the medical options they may suggest:

  • Excision. This treatment is physically removing the skin tag using scissors or a scalpel. Stitches may be required if the skin tag is huge.
  • Cauterization. The skin tag can be removed by cauterization by burning it with high heat or electrical energy levels.
  • Cryosurgery. Cryosurgery, like cauterization, removes skin tags by freezing them using liquid nitrogen.

These treatments may not be suitable for pregnant women. Consult your doctor or dermatologist before proceeding.


Home remedies

The best way for pregnant women to solve pregnancy skin tags is through home remedies.

It is critical to avoid harsh treatments or chemicals that may be absorbed through the skin while pregnant. The following home treatments can be used to try to dry out skin tags naturally.

  • Apple cider vinegar. The acidic nature of apple cider vinegar accounts for its drying properties. This may help dry out skin tags and allow them to fall off. Using a wet cotton swab to target only the skin tag can help reduce the risk of burns.
  • Tea tree oil. Tea tree oil has antifungal and antibacterial qualities and is another popular skin treatment. With the capacity to help relieve inflammation, it may be an excellent spot therapy for a snagged or irritated skin tag.
  • Garlic. People who have tried applying a little bit of fresh garlic or fresh garlic juice on the skin tag say it’s a success. Although there might be no study to support this, testimonials say that it helped eradicate skin tags.


Will skin tags that develop during pregnancy go away?

They usually vanish after giving delivery. In certain cases, these skin tags will fall out on their own after birth. This could be due to another hormonal shift, or it could be something completely different.

If they don’t disappear completely, they should at least become smaller and simpler to extract.


How common are skin tags during pregnancy?

happy smiling pregnant woman

You might be able to avoid having any skin tags at all when pregnant. However, If you’re prone to skin tags in general, you’ll most likely have them during pregnancy as well.

Skin tags may appear for the first time while pregnant, but they may also appear prior to pregnancy, particularly if you have PCOS, diabetes, or are overweight.


Can Skin Tags Affect The Baby?

Just like other physical changes in a mother’s body, they are only experienced by the mother alone. While skin tags upset us most of the time, luckily, they have no impact on the baby.

However, skin tags can be a symptom of insulin resistance or diabetes mellitus. There is no need to be concerned about them during pregnancy, but if they are growing rapidly or causing discomfort, seek medical attention.


Can you prevent skin tags during pregnancy?

There is nothing you can do to avoid getting skin tags. We can’t totally prevent them from appearing, but there are several things expecting mothers can do to help.

  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing made of breathable materials. And wear undergarments that are properly fitting for your growing body.
  • Keep hydrated! Pregnancy has a variety of effects on our skin Aside from skin tags, dark spots and acne are also common. Make sure to drink plenty of water to keep the skin cells hydrated.
  • Exfoliating the skin gently once a week can help remove dead skin cells, unclog pores, and prevent breakouts.


When to talk to your doctor about skin tags?

dermatologist sitting at table and listening to patient in clinic

If they appear quickly and in large numbers, talk to the doctor because they may indicate another health condition requiring treatment.
Also, keep a keen eye out for any skin tags that may be showing these signs:

  • Go to the doctor if the skin tags are spreading.
  • Bleeding skin tags are not good. Proceed to the doctor if it happens.
  • Skin tags are usually soft and not rough; therefore, if it’s rough, it may not be normal.
  • When the shape looks weird and uneven, have it checked.
  • It’s also not normal when your skin tags appear multicolored.
  • Lastly, observe the initial size of your skin tags because you should go to the doctor if they appear to be growing in size.


Pregnancy Skin Tags Should Be The Least Of Your Worry

While skin tags are usually permanent, these unattractive extraneous bits of flesh that form during pregnancy can actually dissolve without therapy a few months later. Due to a lack of blood supply, they have been known to shrink or fall off on their own.

However, if pregnancy skin tags ever decide to stay despite giving birth already, don’t worry. There are numerous remedies that can be done. If a skin tag becomes problematic or develops in an unfavorable location, your dermatologist may freeze or remove it.

Go to Team Dermatology. They can treat a wide range of dermatological conditions, including skin tags. Their doctors are board-certified professionals with exceedingly high standards, ensuring that the care you receive is exceptional.

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TEAM Dermatology advises you of the departure of Dr. Kuda Maloney from our Memorial and Sugar Land locations in November of  2023.  Dr. Maloney will be pursuing interests outside of private practice and we wish her the best in achievement of her future endeavors. Please contact our office to arrange for your care with another provider in our offices.