By definition, a skin tag is a benign growth. It grows from your skin on a fleshy stem. The top is round or oval, smooth, and either brown or flesh-colored. If you put your finger on it and rub from left to right, it usually yields and is springy because of the stem that attaches it to your body. Cancerous skin tags are exceedingly rare, if not unheard of.
A skin tag is not an early sign of skin cancer and it does not increase your risk of getting skin cancer. In fact, it has nothing to do with skin cancer at all, except for the fact that doctors call it a skin tumor.
The danger is not that your skin tags will turn cancerous. The danger is that you may see something on your skin, mistakenly think it is a skin tag, but be wrong.
These are the rules to keep in mind:
Firstly, a skin tag is normally not itchy or painful, and it does not release any kind of discharge. If there is constant friction between the tag and your clothes or jewelry, it might become red and bleed a bit, but this normally clears up quickly.
If it grows fast, if it is sore, if it is multicolored, if it bleeds constantly, or if there is a discharge, it might not be a real skin tag and you should visit your doctor to get a proper diagnosis, just in case it is a cancerous growth.
Secondly, skin tags hang off your skin and thus are outside your body. Cysts, on the other hand, are little keratin-filled pockets under your skin. They look like flesh-colored bumps on your skin, but they are actually below its surface. These are not always harmful, but doctors recommend that you have them diagnosed in case they are cancerous.
Thirdly, many moles protrude from your skin, but not as far as skin tags do. Moles happen when your skin cells grow in a cluster, instead of being spread out. They are usually brown all over and have clearly defined borders. By adulthood, you already have quite a few of these, and should know what they look like. If you get a growth that does not look like either your moles or your skin tags, you may want it checked out by a medical professional.
Lastly, look out for change. Except for extremely slow growth, benign growths change little over time, while cancerous tumors do. Examine each of your skin tags once a month to record any changes.