Patient advice sheet – SKIN TAGS, WARTS & VERRUCAS


Skin Tags

Skin tags are small, soft, skin-coloured growths that hang off the skin and look a bit like warts.

They’re very common, harmless, and can vary in colour and size – from a few millimetres up to 5cm (about 2 inches) wide.

Skin tags are usually found on the neck, armpits, around the groin, or under the breasts.  They can also grow on the eyelids or under the folds of the buttocks.


Why skin tags occur

Skin tags are made of loose collagen fibres and bloods vessels surrounded by skin.  Collagen is a type of protein found throughout the body.

Both men and woman can develop skin tags.  They tend to occur in older people and people who are obese ( or have type 2 diabetes (

Pregnant women may also be more likely to develop skin tags as a result of changes in their hormone levels.  Some people develop them for no apparent reason.

Skin tags tend to grow in the skin folds, where the skin rubs against itself, such as on the neck, armpits or groin.  This is why they tend to affect overweight people who have excess folds of skin and skin chafing.

 When skin tags can be a problem

However, you may consider having skin tags removed if they affect your self-esteem, or if they snag on clothing or jewellery and bleed.  You’ll usually need to pay to have this done privately.

This is because skin tag removal is regarded as cosmetic surgery ( which is rarely available through the NHS. 

Sometimes, skin tags fall off on their own if the tissue has twisted and died from a lack of blood supply.

You can buy over-the-counter treatment for skin tags at your local Pharmacy.  However, please see your GP if you are concerned about any changes in a skin tag.


 What are warts?

  • Warts are fleshy growths on the skin
  • When they occur on the feet they are often known as verrucas
  • They are common
  • 1 in 10 people have warts at any one time
  • Most people will have a wart at some time in their life

Do I need treatment?

  • 1 in 5 warts will disappear within 6 months without treatment
  • 65% of warts will disappear in 2 years without treatment

Can the Pharmacist advise on appropriate treatment?

  • Your local Pharmacist can advise you on the most appropriate treatment for your warts/verrucas.
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