One place you may not think of getting a skin tag is under the tongue. It’s not an uncommon occurrence, however, you need to be careful and be sure it is actually a tongue skin tag and not a medical condition. Our tongue isn’t like our skin. It’s a muscular organ that can be damaged if not taken care of correctly.

What Causes Skin Tags Under on the Tongue?

Skin tags under the tongue occur for the same reason as they do on the body; from friction. When skin rubs against skin, the resulting friction is what causes a skin tag to form. Something else that can cause a skin tag to form under the tongue is a tongue stud or piercing.

Other factors have been linked to skin tags, however, there isn’t a lot of scientific evidence for these.

  • Age – skin tags seem to be more common as we get older
  • Weight gain – creates flaps or rolls where skin rubs together
  • Hormones – such as with pregnancy and menopause
  • Insulin resistance – pre-diabetes symptom
  • Using steroids
  • Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)

Identifying Tongue Skin Tags

A skin tag is a small growth that is fleshy and benign. They range from being very tiny to something the size of a grape. With a tongue skin tag, you are more likely to notice it fairly quickly because you will feel it.

Fleshy folds that occur anywhere on the tongue could be a skin tag. However, there are some medical conditions that we need to look at as well. Some of these conditions can be harmful and it’s imperative that you know the difference.

Other Conditions That Skin Tags Can Be Mistaken For

Plica Fimbriata

The plica Fimbriata is the mucous membrane that is found on the underside of your tongue. From time to time, the membrane can fold over on itself, creating what feels like a bump. This bump is what a lot of people mistake for a skin tag. It’s a condition that occurs naturally in some people, however, it has no negative side effects and does not require any type of treatment.


Like skin tags, warts can also appear on or under the tongue, and be mistaken for a skin tag. However, warts are very different from skin tags because they are caused by a virus. Warts, unlike skin tags, are very contagious as well. It’s rare for a wart to develop on the tongue, but it can happen from time to time.

If you believe what you have is a wart, it’s important to seek medical attention and treatment right away. You should not let your mouth come into contact with anyone else. You can’t use topical treatments on a wart under the tongue, so it will require removal by a doctor.

Irritation Fibroma

Fibromas are small clusters of tissue that are non-cancerous and can occur in a number of areas. One of those areas is the tongue. They can range in color from the same color as your tongue to a slightly lighter or darker shade. A fibroma is caused by a minor injury, such as rubbing the tongue against a tooth that is rough, a retainer, or biting the tongue.

The majority of irritation fibromas don’t need any treatment and are painless. If you decide that you want to have it removed, you should see your doctor, who can surgically remove it.

Swelling of the Taste Buds

A swollen taste bud can sometimes be mistaken for a skin tag. However, a swollen taste bud will be less fleshy and appear white in color. This is another condition that will require treatment and the attention of your doctor.

Oral Cancer

If you have what you think is a skin tag on or under the tongue, but it looks strange, it can be cause for concern. You should see your doctor if it becomes painful, or has turned a vibrant white or red color. Your doctor will want to have the skin tag removed in order to do a biopsy on it. This will show if the skin tag was cancerous, whether you have oral cancer or another ailment. In most instances, this is a rare occurrence.

HPV (Human Papilloma Virus)

HPV is a class of sexually transmitted diseases that can affect the genitals, throat, and mouth. In the mouth and on the tongue, it can form different types of bumps. It’s the squamous cell papilloma bump that is often mistaken for a skin tag. They are actually warts that are non-cancerous and flesh-coloured. You may have one, or a cluster of these warts on the tongue.

Although they are harmless, they can affect how you drink and eat. In these cases, you can have your doctor surgically remove them, or have them frozen via cryosurgery.


Lymphoepithelial Cysts

LEC’s are hardened nodules that form within the soft tissue of the body. While they are more common in the head and throat areas, they can form on the bottom of the tongue. They will look like yellow or white bumps and tend to be painless.

While LECs are not cancerous, your doctor may choose to biopsy them to rule out any underlying conditions.

Warning Signs

The majority of the growths above that look like skin tags on the tongue are harmless. However, you should have your doctor examine any new bumps on the tongue to be sure it isn’t something more.

It’s important to see you, doctor, if you develop any of the following symptoms:

  • A growth has changed in colour, size, or texture
  • You develop chronic pain in your mouth
  • You have open wounds in your mouth that aren’t healing
  • You develop white or red patches inside your mouth
  • You are experiencing throat pain or tightness
  • You feel numbness in the mouth or tongue
  • You experience voice changes
  • You experience unexplained weight loss
  • You have trouble chewing or swallowing
  • You have problems moving your jaw or tongue

In most cases, these are signs of minor underlying health concerns. However, they are also the early symptoms of oral cancer and should be checked by your doctor.

Are Skin Tags on the Tongue Painful?

In most cases, skin tags on the tongue, or anywhere else are not painful unless they have become infected. If you are experiencing pain from your tongue skin tag, it may be a sign of something more serious and should be looked at by a doctor.

Removing Tongue Skin Tags

A skin tag will more than likely form on an area of the tongue where you have friction. Continuous friction can lead to irritation. Should you notice any bleeding or pain from the skin tag, you should see a doctor for treatment as soon as you can.

In most cases, removing a skin tag is a pretty simple thing to do. While they tend not to fall off on their own, you can cut the blood flow off from them, causing them to shrivel up, die, and fall off. With a tongue skin tag, it can be a bit more difficult because most of the usual treatment options won’t work. This is down to their location.

Your first step is to consult with your doctor. They will go over the safest skin tag removal options for the tongue. A skin tag can be removed surgically, with your doctor either using a scalpel to cut the skin tag off or using a laser to burn off and cauterize it. Depending on where the skin tag is located will determine which of these options is best.

How to Remove Tongue Skin Tags

Obviously, it won’t be easy to tie off a skin tag under the tongue. You also can’t use topical medications because these are not meant to be ingested. Treating them yourself isn’t really recommended either. So, what can you do?

You may choose to live with the skin tag if it isn’t painful, causing discomfort, or in a noticeable area. A tongue skin tag won’t fall off on its own like those that form on the skin. As mentioned earlier, the majority of skin tags won’t cause pain. The only time you should be concerned is if it has become very painful or has turned an odd color. You should then have it checked to see if it’s something other than a skin tag. Speaking with your doctor about removal options is also a good idea if the skin tag is bothering you.