Skin tags are common, benign skin growths that hang from the surface of the skin on a thin piece of tissue called a stalk. They are made up of many components, including fat, collagen fibers, and sometimes nerve cells and small blood vessels. It’s possible that these collagen fibers and blood vessels become wrapped up inside a layer of skin, leading to the formation of a skin tag. The medical term for a skin tag is acrochordon, and they can also be referred to as soft fibromas or fibroepithelial polyps.

Skin tags are frequently found in areas of friction on the skin, such as the neck, underarms, under the breasts, eyelids, and other skin folds. They start as small, often flesh-colored bumps. They may stay that size and go largely unnoticed, enlarge and continue to be painless, or enlarge and become irritated due to friction or pressure.

It’s not entirely clear what causes skin tags, and there are no proven ways to prevent them. Some studies have shown that skin tags are more common in people who have diabetes or are overweight. Pregnancy may also lead to increased numbers of skin tags, most likely due to hormonal changes in the body.

Symptoms of skin tags on the neck

Necks are a location where people often find different types of bumps. To determine if your neck growth is a skin tag, look for the following characteristics:

  • Small, less than 5 millimeters in diameter  
  • Flesh-colored or slightly pigmented
  • Very soft and easily flattened
  • Painless or slight discomfort when irritated
  • May have a discernible stalk which connects the tag to the surface of the skin  

Causes of skin tags on the neck

Doctors aren’t entirely sure what causes skin tags to form, but there are some theories about how they develop.

Lack of elastic tissue in the skin

As the skin ages, it loses its elasticity. Older skin has less collagen and fewer elastic fibers to maintain its texture. In localized areas where the skin folds regularly, like on the neck, this lack of elasticity could cause skin tags.

Hormone imbalances

Skin tags sometimes form during pregnancy on the face, neck, chest, and under the breasts. They typically go away on their own during the postpartum period. Skin tag formation in this case could be due to high estrogen and progesterone levels affecting the integrity of the skin.

Growth factors

Studies have found that people who develop skin tags have higher insulin growth factor (IGF-1) levels and more insulin growth factor receptors. These receptors are found in the skin and could be responsible for skin tag formation on the neck.  

Epidermal growth factor (EGF) and its receptors regulate skin growth, and they are also found in greater amounts in people with skin tags. More research is needed to understand how an excess of these growth factors leads to the development of skin tags.

Human papillomavirus

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is more commonly associated with warts, but research has found it may also be responsible for skin tag growth as well. Several studies have detected HPV in biopsies of skin tags. Researchers have found the virus in up to 88% of skin tag specimens, suggesting that HPV infection could be a factor in skin tag development.

Read More: Best Natural Way To Remove Skin Tag At Home

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