Although skin tags are largely benign, they can sometimes cause problems if they occur in an area that is constantly rubbed, they occur in an area where they are noticeable, or they occur on the genitals or the anus. Healthcare professionals do not recommend that patients cut tags off themselves because it may lead to infection or scars.
Cosmetic removal of tags is not covered by health insurance, but people with tags should consider having a healthcare professional examine them for a number of reasons. For example, a healthcare professional can rule out other conditions that may resemble tags, such as warts, seborrheic keratosis, or moles, and determine an appropriate course of therapy. A healthcare practitioner can also determine whether the tag is a symptom of another disease, such as Crohn’s disease (in which tags may develop around the opening of a person’s anus), or changes in hormones, such as that which occurs during pregnancy. If the skin tag is particularly large, a healthcare professional can administer a local anesthetic to the area around the skin tag, which will minimize the discomfort that the patient feels.
Although most tags are benign growths, they may become malignant in a few extremely rare instances. In particular, people should have a healthcare practitioner examine the tag if they notice any changes in the appearance of the tag, because these changes may suggest a malignant form of cancer. A healthcare professional can submit the sample for a histological examination to rule out this disease.