Pregnancy seems to come with its own set of rules. Each woman experiences the journey of pregnancy differently. Many women talk about the pregnancy “glow,” and others describe heartburn, nausea, and fatigue.
The experiences and symptoms that accompany carrying a child are often pushed under the rug due to pressure to have “the perfect pregnancy.” A common symptom of pregnancy that is rarely talked about is skin tags.
Is it normal to get skin tags while pregnant?
Yes, it is quite common for women to experience skin tags while pregnant, especially in the second trimester. Skin tags often are found on the neck, armpits, nipples, and vagina during pregnancy and are thought to be caused by hormones and weight gain.
Of all of the changes happening to the body while pregnant, many don’t expect skin tags. Many become self-conscious and embarrassed and don’t discuss skin tags with their OBGYN or support groups.
Roughly 20% of pregnant women will experience some sort of dermatological changes throughout their pregnancy, and approximately 12% of those women have reported skin tags.
Let’s take the guesswork out of skin tags and remove the barriers. Here’s what you need to know about skin tags.
Skin Tags While Pregnant: What To Know
Skin tags (acrochordons) are small, non-cancerous growths of tissues usually shaped like a very small flap of skin connected by a stalk or stem. Skin tags are harmless and painless unless irritated.
Typically most skin tags will not need any removal or treatment. Skin tags most often occur in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy.
There is no one definite reason why skin tags occur during pregnancy; however, it is thought that skin tags occur due to increased hormones and weight gain.
What Do Skin Tags Look Like?
Skin tags often look like a bit of bunched-up skin attached by a stalk or stem. Skin tags are flesh-colored skin growths that grow beyond the surface of the skin. Once developed, they do not grow in size.
Skin tags are usually very small, measuring around 1-5 millimeters. Some skin tags can grow up to a few centimeters; however, they are almost always harmless no matter the size.
Some women have described skin tags as resembling “grains of rice.” If you touch a skin tag, it should be soft and easy to move back and forth.
What Causes Skin Tags During Pregnancy?
Skin tags during pregnancy are thought to be brought on by hormonal changes and weight gain.
Skin tags are most often found in the areas of the body that are hot and moist where the skin rubs against itself, e.g., armpits, neck, on and around breasts, and vagina.
Skin tags will often shrink and disappear after pregnancy. If you are concerned about skin tags or would like to ensure they are skin tags, reach out to your OBGYN or primary care physician to have them examined.
Where Skin Tags During Pregnancy Occur
Skin tags during pregnancy will occur in the areas of the body that are hot and moist. They most often occur on the neck, breasts/nipples, armpits, and vagina. These growths thrive in areas where the skin rubs against itself.
Skin Tags During Pregnancy on Neck
Skin tags often show up in the softer bodily crevices and result from moisture, friction, weight gain, and hormones. While pregnant, a common area to notice skin tags is your neck.
Skin tags will develop in the crevices around your neck area and can be exacerbated by rubbing. If you notice skin tags developing on your neck, avoid wearing necklaces and tight-fitted clothing, and try to prevent future irritation or friction.
Skin Tags During Pregnancy on Nipples
Pregnancy causes weight gain and hormone fluctuations as well as breast tenderness and growth. Due to breast growth, there is additional sweating and rubbing.
Skin tags commonly develop on the nipples and under the breasts during pregnancy. These skin tags often shrink or disappear altogether after pregnancy.
Skin tags on the nipples will not interfere with breastfeeding or affect the baby. Skin tags are easily removed painlessly, but most doctors recommend waiting till after the birth of your baby.
Odds of Developing Skin Tags During Pregnancy
While you might be taken back by developing a skin tag or tags while pregnant, you are far from alone. About 50 – 60% of adults will develop a skin tag in their lifetime.
20% of pregnant women reported dermatological changes during pregnancy, while 12% of those women reported skin tags. Many women do not report skin tags and are often embarrassed, so the true numbers are unknown.
While skin tags are more common than reported, often women will see a skin tag and have no clue what it is. The odds of developing a skin tag increase nearing the end of your pregnancy due to an increase in hormone levels and weight gain.
Can Skin Tags Affect The Baby?
Skin tags are merely cosmetic. Although skin tags are another annoying side effect of pregnancy, the good news is that they won’t affect the baby.
Do Skin Tags During Pregnancy Go Away?
Good news! Most skin tags that develop during pregnancy shrink or disappear completely after birth. If skin tags linger after pregnancy, it is not a cause of concern.
The process of removal is easy and usually painless. A dermatologist or your primary care physician can perform a non-invasive procedure to cauterize, freeze or cut off the skin tag safely and effectively.
Can Skin Tags Be Removed Before Birth?
Yes, skin tags can be removed before birth; however, it is recommended that you wait until after birth to see if the skin tag shrinks or disappears on its own.
If the skin tag is irritated or causing discomfort, a doctor may recommend removal before birth.
Skin tag removal can be done in minutes with minimal discomfort by a dermatologist or primary care provider. You mustn’t try to cut or remove a skin tag at home because it could cause infection, scarring, or excessive bleeding.
Preventing Skin Tags
Although there is no prevention magic trick, there are steps you can take to reduce the chances of developing skin tags.
Try to maintain a healthy weight, reduce friction by wearing non-restrictive clothing, maintain good hygiene, and avoid wearing jewelry.
Skin tags, although inconvenient, are merely cosmetic. Skin tag removal is a simple procedure that can be done after birth or if medically necessary during pregnancy.
Can You Safely Remove Skin Tags Yourself?
Just because the process of skin tag removal is simple for a dermatologist or primary physician doesn’t mean you should attempt to burn or cut off a skin tag on your own.
Attempting to remove skin tags can result in infection, skin irritation, pain, and excessive bleeding.
Some homeopathic remedies can minimize or shrink skin tags. These methods often include using apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil, or garlic.
You should always consult with your doctor before attempting to treat or remove skin tags to avoid scarring, skin irritation, or infection.
Skin Tags: When To Worry
When talking to your doctor about skin tags, they will provide an evaluation to confirm it is a skin tag and not another dermatological condition such as a mole, wart, or skin cancer.
If your skin tag changes appearance or begins to cause you pain, it is very important to have it looked at by a health care professional.
Signs of when to see a doctor include the growth changing colors or is a different color than the surrounding skin, if it is raw or bleeding, if it becomes painful, or if it is hard or immovable.
Do Pregnancy Moles Go Away?
If you have moles before pregnancy, they may grow in size and darken during pregnancy. You may also notice new moles developing throughout pregnancy.
These moles often go away after you give birth and are no reason for concern.
If pregnancy moles grow in size, have an abnormal shape, or cause you pain during or after pregnancy, it is important to have them checked by a health care professional.
Does Vinegar Remove Skin Tags?
Apple cider vinegar may be a homeopathic way to remove skin tags.
If you soak a cotton ball with vinegar and place it on the skin tag for 15 – 30 minutes daily for a couple of weeks, it will cause the tissue to break down and allow the skin tag to fall off.
This process is much longer than having it removed by a professional. You mustn’t attempt to cut or remove the skin tag as it can cause excessive bleeding, pain, and infection.
Pregnancy skin tags can be annoying and may cause temporary discomfort cosmetically. However, they are harmless.
Pregnancy skin tags are nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed of; they are just another side effect of the pregnancy journey.
Skin tags often shrink or disappear after pregnancy, and if they linger, they are easily removed by a healthcare professional.
Pregnancy not only challenges and changes the body, but it also provides new experiences and sacrifices to create a life.
Skin tags are an irritating part of the pregnancy experience. Knowing they are common and harmless provides comfort and allows the journey to be enjoyed.
Mom of three (including identical twin boys), wife, and owner of Parents Wonder. This is my place to share my journey as a mother and the helpful insights I learn along the way.