Skin Tags in Children – Causes and Treatment
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- What Is a Skin Tag?
- Causes of Skin Tags in Children
- Signs of Skin Tags in Children
- Where Are Skin Tags Found on Children?
- Are Skin Tags Harmful and Contagious?
- How Are Skin Tags Diagnosed in Children?
- How to Treat Skin Tags in Kids?
- Home Remedies to Treat Skin Tag in Children
- How to Care for Your Child’s Skin Post Treatment?
If you see a tiny outgrowth of skin somewhere on your child’s body, don’t immediately panic! It might be a skin tag, which is usually painless. A definitive cause of skin tags is unknown, but several factors can determine whether a child is going to develop these skin outgrowths, and skin tags on kids should be looked into. These small, soft, and often flesh-coloured growths can be found on various parts of the body, including the neck, armpits, and groin. While they’re not usually painful or a cause for medical alarm, it’s natural for parents to seek information about them. Let’s read on to find out all about skin tags in children.
What Is a Skin Tag?
Skin tags are usually small outgrowths of skin. They can affect anyone of any gender or age, even children. They are usually only a few millimetres long, about the size of a grain, and are harmless. They are called papillomas.
Causes of Skin Tags in Children
What causes skin tags on babies? Let’s talk about a few causes below:
1. In-utero Development
Sometimes, children may be born with skin tags near their ears, or elsewhere on their bodies. The ones near the ears are often located in the front, as the cartilage that forms the baby’s ears has not yet fully thickened to assume the proper ear shape. These are not harmful, but you can consider their removal for visual reasons.
2. Friction Between Skin
Where the skin is open to frequent rubbing and friction, those areas are prone to skin tags. The most common areas are the armpit, neck, and groin. If the child is overweight or obese, they will have extra folds of skin, and are more at risk of skin chafing and skin tags, the underarms and neck being the most common.
4. Hereditary Reasons
If your child is born with, or develops, skin tags, it could be because it is genetic. One of the parents or grandparents might have had skin tags.
5. Defects in Body Functions
Body function abnormalities, like impaired lipid metabolism and irregularities in liver enzymes, can sometimes be associated with the presence of skin tags.
Signs of Skin Tags in Children
Following are the signs and symptoms of skin tags in children:
- Skin tags frequently manifest on the face, abdomen, chest, groin, arms, and legs in children.
- A skin tag may either be a raised bump or have a slender stalk extending from the skin’s surface.
- Some tags might exhibit a darker hue compared to the surrounding skin, resembling small, dark protuberances.
- Skin tags commonly occur in groups. If you notice one, be sure to examine the nearby skin for additional tags.
Where Are Skin Tags Found on Children?
Skin tags on children can be found in the following places:
- Buttock folds
- Ear tags are commonly seen in newborns
- Skin tags on the lip are common in children
Are Skin Tags Harmful and Contagious?
Although you might panic upon seeing a skin tag on your child, you can relax, as skin tags are completely harmless and benign. They’re only extra outgrowths of skin, and will not harm your baby in any way. They are also non-cancerous, and will remain so if left untreated in most cases. But, just to be sure, if the skin tags bleed, change colour or grow, it is always better to take your child to a physician, who might prescribe a biopsy test. Skin tags are also non-contagious.
How Are Skin Tags Diagnosed in Children?
Diagnosing skin tags in children typically doesn’t require extensive tests. A doctor can usually diagnose them through a physical examination, assessing their size and location to identify their cause. Only if the doctor suspects an alternative skin condition might a biopsy be considered, although this is rarely necessary for skin tags.
How to Treat Skin Tags in Kids?
Skin tags can usually be left untreated, as they are not medically harmful. However, if you are conscious about the appearance of a skin tag on your child, these are some treatment procedures that can be used:
1. Laser Removal
You can visit a dermatologist or surgeon, and get the skin tag removed by a laser procedure. This method is slightly expensive, compared to other treatments.
This is a surgical procedure which involves cutting off the skin tag with a scalpel while the child is under anaesthesia.
It is very important to remember that surgery is never advisable for a baby. Wait till the child is older before consulting a dermatologist on skin tag removal, especially if it becomes too big or conspicuous. Never try to remove it on your own at home, as you may risk hurting or infecting your child.
Home Remedies to Treat Skin Tag in Children
While some people attempt home remedies like salicylic acid, apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil, or garlic to remove skin tags, there’s limited scientific evidence to support their effectiveness. DIY removal with tools or pastes can lead to infection, scarring, or bleeding.
If your child desires skin tag removal, it’s advisable to consult a doctor for safe and effective treatment options. They can provide professional guidance and perform the procedure with minimal risk.
How to Care for Your Child’s Skin Post Treatment?
After treatment, more often than not, children might develop blisters on the skin. Although the various treatment procedures are not harmful, the area of the skin will take about ten days to heal. Make sure not to expose it to the sun, and keep your child indoors for the first few days after treatment.
1. Do Skin Tags in Children Go Away on Their Own?
Although in rare instances, skin tags may naturally resolve, in the majority of cases, they tend to persist and can grow larger over time.
2. Is There Any Need to Change Your Child’s Lifestyle to Prevent Skin Tags?
There are no particular dietary or lifestyle adjustments that can specifically prevent the occurrence of skin tags in children. However, maintaining habits like regular exercise, a balanced diet, staying well-hydrated, practising good hygiene, and managing weight can generally promote healthy skin.
3. What Should Parents Do to Reduce the Scarring After Skin Tag Removal in Children?
When done under medical supervision, skin tag removal typically doesn’t result in scarring. Yet, improper removal methods can lead to scarring. While there’s no foolproof way to entirely eliminate scarring, keeping the area clean, well-moisturized, and following the dermatologist’s recommended topical treatment, along with shielding it from the sun, can aid in the healing process and minimize scarring.
Skin tags may not be very pleasant to look at, but they are harmless, and you don’t have to worry about them. If they are very small, you can look at letting them go untreated for the rest of your child’s life, but if they are big and start affecting your child’s self-confidence, then you can make the decision of removing the skin tag, with proper consultation with a certified dermatologist.
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