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You will go through a lot of changes during pregnancy than you can count. Increasing weight, food cravings, morning sickness are part and parcel of these nine months that you know about. You may also begin to notice other unwanted changes like stretch marks, veins and so on. However, the appearance of skin tags might come as a surprise. This article will help you understand the causes and treatment methods of skin tags.
What are Skin Tags?
Skin tags are basically small millimetre-sizes bumps on the skin that resemble little blobs. They usually appear in areas such as the neck, eyelids, arms, groin, armpits, legs, and so on. Skin tags on the breast during pregnancy are also common. Skin tags appear randomly and are impossible to predict based on medical history. Also, pregnant women who have already had skin tags might see them increase in number and size during the progression of their pregnancy. Luckily, they usually fall off after you give birth.
How Common are Skin Tags in Pregnancy?
Skin tags usually occur in around twenty-five percent of all pregnant women; however, the likelihood of their appearance increases with women who are obese, diabetic or above the age of fifty.
Characteristics of Pregnancy Skin Tags
Here are seven features shared by skin tags that occur during pregnancy:
- Skin tags are usually darker than the normal hue of your skin. This is because the skin is all bunched up together in the tag, concentrating the skin pigment melanin inside.
- Skin tags have a tendency of forming in the regions of the skin which tend to get hot or moist.
- The frequency of their appearance increases the further your pregnancy develops, as this causes the skin on your stomach to be rub against your clothes.
- Even though they resemble warts, they are harmless, cause no pain and nearly no discomfort.
- Skin tags mostly appear around the second and third trimesters.
- Skin tags are often neglected because they are usually unnoticeable, but after delivery, they become very obvious.
- Skin tags can become painful if they are physically injured, such as by excess friction and twisting.
How to Identify Skin Tags?
Skin tags are polyps emerging from the skin, possessing a round head and a narrow strip of skin that connects the head to your body. Their colour also changes depending on the type of your skin, for example, white women usually have white or pink skin tags, whereas tan women can have dark or black skin tags.
Causes of Skin Tags in Pregnancy
There are several factors involved in the occurrence of skin tags during pregnancy:
- Hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy can lead to excessive growth of the superficial layer of the skin
- It has been suggested that pregnancy skin tags might be caused by a combination of overactive hormones and friction that happens as the belly stretches in the final trimesters.
- There is also a hereditary component involved in the formation of skin tags.
Can Skin Tags Affect the Baby?
The simple answer to this question is no. Skin tags are a purely cosmetic issue that, in the worst case, might cause some mild discomfort. There is no reason to be worried about them hurting your pregnancy in any way, nor are they indicative of an underlying disorder such as cancer.
Risks of Pregnancy Skin Tags
- There are no risks whatsoever associated with skin tags during your pregnancy. However, take care while attempting to get rid of them.
- Never apply OTC chemicals on the skin as they could enter your body through the skin and affect your pregnancy.
- Do not tie a thread around them to prevent their growth. This method will lead to a bacterial infection.
- Finally, if the skin tags become red or painful contact your doctor immediately.
Treatments for Skin Tags While Pregnant
- The skin tag can be simply snipped off by a dermatologist. This procedure is rapid and painless, and may not even require anaesthetic.
- Skin tags can also be frozen with the help of liquid nitrogen after which they simply fall off your skin.
- Another technique used by skin specialists is the electric needle, which can cauterize the extra skin off your body.
- You may also be prescribed wart creams that break down any remaining tags after the above three methods have been tried.
Some home remedies include dabbing them with apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil or vitamin E oil. Care must be taken when using any of these treatments without your doctor’s permission.
The final option is laser removal, where a high-intensity beam of light is used to burn the skin tags off your body.
Please note that unless the skin tag is causing you discomfort your doctor might refuse to treat you for them during the pregnancy.
Skin tags cannot be prevented. However, if their appearance is linked to obesity, losing some weight might provide some relief. Please be extra careful when attempting cardio during pregnancy, and never do it without the explicit permission from your doctor.
How Are Skin Tags Different from Warts?
Skin tags and warts are different in a few ways:
- Warts are coarser and less regular in shape, whereas skin tags are usually soft and smooth.
- Skin tags are not contagious, that is they remain localized to specific areas of skin. On the other hand, warts can easily spread to multiple areas on the skin.
- Skin tags are loose and hang from the skin, while warts are flattened and positioned close to the surface of the skin.
Skin tags can develop at any stage during your pregnancy, but they are completely natural and only cause cosmetic irritation. Attempting to remove them during pregnancy might be dangerous and is usually fruitless as they tend to come back anyway. The best course of action is to wait for your child to be born before trying to rectify them.