Skin tags, also known as skin tabs or barnacles, are flaps of tissue, about the size of a grain of rice, that hang from the skin by a tiny "stalk". They are most commonly found on the neck, crotch, eyelids and armpits, or in places that are frequently rubbed by tight-fitted clothing. They can grow on their own or in small clusters. Skin tags are typically smaller than two millimetres, soft to touch, can be rounded or asymmetrical and usually the same colour as the surrounding skin. On rare occasions, people have grown hundreds of them or have had an individual tag that has grown to the size of a grape, although this is unusual. Skin tags are not contagious, so they can’t spread from one person to another, or between areas of skin. They don’t cause irritation such as itchiness, pain or discomfort, so usually can be ignored.
Skin tags are more common in older people, although they can develop at any age. Nearly half of all people will develop a skin tag at some point in time.
Women who are pregnant and people with Crohn’s disease have a higher chance of developing skin tags. People who are overweight or obese, and individuals with diabetes and insulin resistance, are also more at risk.