Pregnant woman getting ready to exercise at home, in a story about skin tags during pregnancy.
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Skin Tags Are The Pregnancy Side Effect No One Talks About

Seriously, hormones, you’ve done enough.

Maybe some people glow during their pregnancy, but most of us just sweat profusely, break out, or swell up. And honestly, that’s all normal considering pregnancy puts your body through so much hormonal change. So, if you happen to notice a skin tag somewhere you didn’t used to have one, you can chalk it up to hormones, too. Even if you’ve never had one before in your life, everything that happens to your body during pregnancy can make you prone to growing skin tags for the first time (or, if you’ve had them before, you might notice you’re sprouting more than usual).

Why am I getting skin tags all of a sudden?

Skin tags are soft, benign growths (usually around the size of a grain or rice or a pebble). They tend to grow in places where there’s a lot of friction, either from skin rubbing against skin or clothing. And if you’ve never had them before but notice you do now that you’re pregnant, you’re not alone. Thanks to all the hormonal and metabolic changes in the body, around 90% of people experience changes in their skin during pregnancy, like hyperpigmentation, eczema, acne, and yes, skin tags.

When you’re pregnant, skin tags are most likely to pop up on your face, neck, upper chest, or beneath the breasts. So, if you’re shaving your arm pits or swiping on some lotion and you notice a new little hitchhiker (or a patch of them), you can thank those pesky pregnancy hormones.

“During pregnancy, hormonal changes, and increased weight gain, there can be the development of skin tags in some women. While the exact reasons vary, hormonal fluctuations and friction are the primary factors,” says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Divya Shokeen, M.D.

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Is there a way to prevent skin tags from forming?

You can’t change the fact that your hormones are doing the most during pregnancy. There are also some people who are more likely to develop skin tags just because they’re genetically predisposed, Shokeen says, or they have certain underlying health conditions, like diabetes.

There’s no definitive way to prevent skin tags, according to Dr. Nkem Ugonabo, M.D., MPH, board-certified dermatologist. But, you can pay extra attention to areas on your body that tend to experience some friction. Reduce the friction where you can, Shokeen recommends, and do your best to keep those areas dry.

Do skin tags from pregnancy go away on their own?

From gestational diabetes to swollen ankles and feet, most of the bodily changes caused by pregnancy go away once you’ve given birth. While some medical journals suggest your new skin tags will just “disappear” postpartum, Shokeen begs to differ. “They are unlikely to disappear on their own after pregnancy, and may persist unless removed,” she says.

And before you rush to buy any removal creams, or (gulp) reach for the nail scissors, just know that the safest and most effective way to get rid of skin tags is by asking a dermatologist to do it.

“Treatment options are really limited to a consultation with a dermatologist for more effective and safe solutions. It’s important to diagnose them correctly first and then to remove them appropriately. I never recommend attempting to remove them at home due to risk of bleeding, irritation, or inflammation on the site,” Shokeen says.

“I always recommend patients have them removed in office by a board-certified dermatologist. At-home treatments can have negative outcomes and so I do not advise patients take the risk,” Ugonabo says. “They are benign so if your skin tags do not bother you, then you don’t have to do anything to treat them! If they do, a dermatologist can quickly remove them in office.”

Again, skin tags are totally harmless so there’s no urgent need to get them removed. But, if you’d just rather they were gone, your best bet at a safe, easy removal is to schedule an appointment with your dermatologist.


Dr. Divya Shokeen, M.D., board-certified dermatologist based in California

Dr. Nkem Ugonabo, M.D., MPH, board-certified dermatologist based in New York