What Causes Skin Tags Around the Eyes?

Skin tags, or acrochordons, are benign skin growths that project from the surrounding skin area and hang from a slender skin stalk. Skin tags are common, harmless and noncancerous; they may appear on the neck, under the arm pit, beneath the breast, on the back, chest or around the eyes. Skin tags vary in size from 1 mm to 1 cm, though may also be the size of a grape. As of 2010, there is no definitive answer as to what causes skin tags.

Dermatologist checking woman's skin. (Image: dnberty/iStock/Getty Images)

Skin Irritation

Skin tags may develop around the eyes due to folds around the eyes and frequent rubbing of the area which causes skin irritation. Skin tags may create a cosmetic problem, but they are not usually painful unless they become inflamed, twisted or irritated.

Pregnancy

Tiny skin tags may develop around the eyes from the hyperactive growth of a superficial layer of skin due to hormonal changes during pregnancy, according to WhatToExpect.com. Skin tags that occur during pregnancy usually disappear a few months after the baby is delivered, but can also be removed by a dermatologist using cauterization, excision with a scissors or by freezing with liquid nitrogen.

Medical Conditions

According to SkinTagTags.com, medical conditions associated with the development of skin tags include atherosclerosis, obesity, diabetes and insulin resistance. These skin tags tend to develop in areas where the skin folds or creases and rubs together.

Heredity

Heredity is a factor that may predispose you to developing skin tags if your parents also had them. According to SkinTagTags.com, 44 percent of patients with skin tags have a familial history of skin tags.

HPV

According to SkinTagTags.com, a 1998 study showed that human papilloma virus, or HPV, DNA was found in 88 percent of skin tag biopsies obtained from 49 patients. The researchers speculated that this may be due to the fact that frequent irritation of the skin tag provides an access for the virus, so it is not clear if HPV infections cause skin tags, or the other way around.

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