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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 should be looked into. 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.
Kids who have diabetes or those suffering from HPV virus are more prone to developing skin tags.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Also Read: Papular Urticaria in Children