Skin tags are actually a pretty common problem. No one really knows for sure what causes them, but there are several circumstances associated with their appearance. Some researchers believe that skin tags are simply caused by chafing, or skin rubbing against skin [source: Alai]. Other studies, however, also link biological factors such as genetics, hormonal imbalances, resistance to insulin and HPV (human papilloma virus) to skin tags [sources: Schwartz, Crosta].
Evidence exists to support the various theories. For example, people who are obese are more likely to have skin tags, since they tend to have more skin folds, which can lead to chafing [source: The New York Times Health Guide]. Skin tags are also a common problem for pregnant women, and researchers believe this may be caused by the hormones that manifest themselves during pregnancy, throwing women's body chemistry out of whack [source: Crosta].
Another possible cause of skin tags is the illegal use of steroids. The steroids cause skin fibers to bond, which results in the small outgrowths [source: Crosta]. And age, irrespective of weight, also seems to be a factor in many skin tag cases. By the time they are 70 years old, around 59 percent of the population will have experienced a skin tag or two [source: Schwartz].
Even though skin tags are technically tumors, they are benign. That means they do not turn into cancerous growths [source: Harvard Health Publications]. Therefore, their removal is for cosmetic purposes rather than any health danger.
If you want to find out how to get rid of an unwanted skin tag, move on to the next page.