Skin Tags During Pregnancy: Why Do They Happen?

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No visits from Aunt Flo. You can eat your weight and your baby’s weight in food while indulging more in your cravings. People gift you with that thing they’re supposed to bestow upon you as a human being anyway, but sometimes have trouble finding — also known as common courtesy and decency. The doors just open by themselves! And, of course, there’s the knowledge that you’ll soon have a little bundle of joy in your life. Those are a few of the possible pros of pregnancy.

However, you also get a bouquet of bodily awkwardness from the pregnancy fairy. The scorching summer sun seems to despise you more than usual. Your teeth feel extra sensitive — actually, everything feels extra sensitive. You can’t have alcohol, and your skin does weird stuff — like the return of teenage acne and other random stuff.

It’s not a mole. It’s not a third nipple. It’s a skin tag! Welcome to skin tags during pregnancy.

What Are Skin Tags?

Hormonal fluctuations or nursing may cause skin tags during pregnancy, but the extra pieces of flesh are hereditary. You can get these hanging bits of flesh where your skin rubs against other areas of skin and clothing, such as under eyelids, neck, breasts or the groin. You can also see them on flat areas, such as your back.

You may get a skin tag at any point in your life, but the hormonal boost increases your odds if your family is prone to them. A skin tag might form under your baby belly, but you may not notice it until after giving birth. Don’t worry — skin tags are harmless and common during pregnancy.

Some studies link estrogen with the cause of pregnancy skin tags, and researchers also connect skin tags in general with metabolic syndrome and think of them as benign growths or tumors — a scary but harmless word in this case. When your hormones get out of whack, your collagen production may also increase and lead to skin tags. If you experience any issues with blood sugar, insulin resistance or cholesterol, for example, see your doctor for a check-up, too.

In general, skin tags during pregnancy don’t signal any severe issues. Simple pregnancy weight gain may cause skin tags.

What Should You Do When You Get Skin Tags?

When you see a skin tag for the first time, you may freak out and wonder what’s wrong with your body or your baby. Stay calm and remind yourself that your body does all kinds of weird stuff while you’re pregnant.

Along with growing wild hairs, you also develop skin tags during pregnancy. Overall, the best strategy is to embrace the weirdness of your pregnancy body while it grows a tiny human. Skin tags may clear up in a matter of days or weeks, or they may linger. In fact, most skin tags go away by themselves — you may remember discovering your first skin tag as a child and naming it “Bob,” only for it to clear up days later.

If the skin tag is large and bothers you, don’t try to remove it at home because you may risk scarring and infection. At the same time, don’t use wart remover — that’s for hard skin. Always visit a doctor to remove the skin tag by freezing, burning or clipping it off with sterile methods that often feel like a pinprick. Liquid nitrogen freezes the skin tag off, and an electronic needle burns it off. For larger skin tags, the doctor applies a numbing medication, so you won’t feel any pain.

You may, however, be able to remove smaller skin tags with natural home remedies. Clean the area and apply diluted apple cider vinegar (ACV) on a cotton ball to the tag three times daily. Do a patch test first since straight ACV may cause skin sensitivity issues, such as chemical burns. You can also try something similar by substituting tea tree oil for the ACV and diluting it with a bit of olive oil. Alternatively, you could tie dental floss around the base of the tag to cut off the blood supply — a process known as ligation.

Skin Tags Are No Biggie

Skin tags during pregnancy aren’t anything to be worried about — they’re harmless extra growths of skin. However, if your confidence in your skin takes a hit or your worries get the best of you, you can take care of smaller, pain-free skin tags with home remedies. And for larger ones, see your doctor!

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