Short on time? Then the key things to know are:
- Skin tags are small growths of tissue that can develop during pregnancy as a result of hormonal changes that your body is going through at this time
- They are usually between 1-5mm in size and are almost always benign
- They can appear anywhere but are usually in areas where there is some moisture or some friction such as your breasts, armpits, neck or even around your vulva and anus
- You can consult your doctor/midwife if you are concerned about them, but they are mostly harmless
From hot feet to heartburn, pregnancy causes a number of changes to your body. In particular, your skin will adapt as your bump grows, but may also become dry, oily or itchy.
Some women also report an appearance of skin tags during their pregnancy due to fluctuations in hormones. These small growths of tissue typically appear in areas where there is moisture or friction and are typically nothing to worry about.
Here we share what skin tags are, why they might occur during pregnancy and how you can get rid of them.
What are skin tags?
Skin tags are small, benign growths caused by extra cells growing on the top layers of the skin. They are usually very small, somewhere between 1-5mm in size and are usually skin coloured.
Skin tags can begin to grow in childhood and are very common - most people have at least one on their body.
Skin tags can often be confused with warts, but skin tags tend to hang off the skin rather than lie flat against the surface like a wart. Skin tags also tend to be fairly smooth and not rough like the surface of a wart. Warts are also contagious, unlike skin tags, and you may find you develop a cluster of warts at one time. Skin warts are not linked to pregnancy and may occur at any time in your life.
Are skin tags normal during pregnancy?
Skin tags can appear during pregnancy due to excessive growth of the skin, this is largely due to the hormonal changes you go through during pregnancy.
They may also occur due to extra weight gain during pregnancy and as a result of the skin or clothing rubbing on other parts of your skin. But they can also occur for no apparent reason whatsoever!
If your skin tags become painful or infected, or you have a concern, make sure to speak to your doctor.
Where might you get skin tags?
Skin tags generally form where any sort of friction occurs, i.e. the under arms or in neck folds. They are prolific in areas of moisture and warmth but can pop up anywhere on the body.
During pregnancy skin tags can also develop around the vulva, the inner thigh and occasionally around the anus. Skin tags may also appear around the nipple area.
Do skin tags from pregnancy go away?
It is possible that skin tags developed during pregnancy may fall off after you have given birth. However, some may remain a little persistent.
Whilst you can’t prevent them, it is possible to get skin tags removed if they are bothering you - you can discuss this with your GP or a dermatologist.
How to get rid of skin tags during pregnancy
During your pregnancy any unnecessary treatment is usually best avoided, and we definitely wouldn’t recommend that you have any treatment for skin tags around the vulva or anus during the pregnancy.
It may be possible to treat skin tags on the neck or under arm if they are really irritating you or snagging on clothing or jewellery, but we recommend that you speak to a doctor before attempting any home remedies to try and remove them.
After birth you can seek various treatments for skin tags via your doctor or dermatologist such as excision (cutting the skin tag), cauterization (removal via burning) or cryosurgery (removal via freezing).
Want to speak to someone about your pregnancy or birth? Book a midwife appointment at a time that suits you to get specialist advice with any concerns.
Kate, Naytal Midwife
Kate has been a Midwife within the NHS for more than 15 years and supports women to work harmoniously with their bodies and tune into their intuitions.