What are Pregnancy Skin Tags?

Pregnancy changes your body in many ways besides producing your baby bump. Changes to your skin alone may be longer than your list of food cravings. While most women know to expect some skin conditions like stretch marks and spider veins, the development of pregnancy skin tags might be a surprise.

What Are Pregnancy Skin Tags?

A skin tag is a small growth of skin that appears on the skin surface or dangles from a thin stalk just off the body. They are tiny and usually measured in just a few millimeters — a fraction of an inch. A skin tag is usually skin-colored or somewhat darker and could be unsightly if it surfaces in an obvious place, like on your face or neck. Annoying as they might be, skin tags aren’t dangerous.

Likely places for pregnancy skin tags to develop are the face and neck, particularly on the sides; the upper chest, including beneath or between the breasts; the underarms; and around the groin.

Though exact numbers aren’t known, they seem to be prevalent in pregnant women who had and didn’t have skin tags before their pregnancy. In other words, pregnancy skin tags can appear on a woman simply because she is pregnant, but women who already have them may find that they multiply during pregnancy. They might also increase in size. Most of this activity takes place during the second half of pregnancy.

In the general population, skin tags develop in about a quarter of all people. They are more likely in those who are over 50, overweight, or have diabetes, and are often in places where skin rubs against skin, creating friction, like the underarms, and in natural folds of the body, such as the creases of the eyelids.

Possible Causes of Pregnancy Skin Tags

While skin tags in the general population may be explained due to some connection with diabetes or being overweight, their link to pregnancy is less clear. Popular theories about pregnancy skin tags center on the ramp-up of hormones as a possible cause. These hormones may, in some way, stimulate the hyperactive growth of certain cells in the top layer of skin.

Another idea suggests that pregnancy skin tags are due to a combination of hormonal activity and the excessive friction or rubbing of skin that the extra weight of pregnancy causes, especially since pregnancy skin tags appear in the later stages of pregnancy when women gain more of their baby weight.

Pregnancy Skin Tag Treatments

Unless the skin tags are dangling and getting irritated by clothing or more friction, you won’t experience any symptoms, and your doctor will probably suggest waiting until after baby is born to decide on how to deal with them. Some pregnancy skin tags will disappear on their own after you deliver.

If not, they can be removed easily by your dermatologist. Snipping the stalk of a dangling skin tag is so quick a procedure you might not need anesthesia. Freezing is another fast treatment option.

The glow of pregnancy may not be the only skin change you’ll notice when you’re expecting. But when it comes to the less desirable effects of pregnancy, the bright side of skin tags is that they can be quickly treated when you start to reclaim your pre-pregnancy body.

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