Skin tags are small soft masses of skin hanging in the body and they are benign (harmless). They are flesh colored and project loosely from the skin as narrow stalk. Skin tags are dark accumulated pigments of the skin.
Quick Facts On Skin Tags :
- Skin tags are nothing but small skin growths on the body.
- Skin tags occur anywhere on the body but prominently develop on the neck, armpits, and breasts and on eyelids.
- Skin tags occur as single or in clusters.
- Every person tends to have at least one skin tag in his/her life at some point of life.
- The same individual can have more than hundred skin tags also.
- Skin tags can occur to anyone, but largely they occur on obese adults.
- Obesity is closely related to formation of skin tags.
- It is possible to remove skin tags and it will not grow again as popularly believed.
- Cryotherapy, threading and cutting off the skin tags are some of the methods for removing them.
Whether Skin Tags Cause Cancer ?
They do not cause cancer even if they exist for long term. Skin tags occur either as single or in groups at any part of the body. Acrochordon is the medical term for skin tags. Both men and women can develop skin tags. And skin tags formation is not related to any other disease or medical condition.
Where Do Skin Tags Occur In The Body ?
Skin tags can occur at any age but are more common in obese adults than youngsters. Skin tags occur commonly on the neck, under the breasts, on the armpits, on the eyelids, on the folds of groin and on buttock folds. They are prone to develop on areas where the skin rubs against clothing or other skin.
Who Are At Risk Of Getting Skin Tags ?
- Obese people are at high risk of developing skin tags even before adulthood.
- People of age group 45 to 65 largely develop skin tags.
- Pregnant women and those with hormonal fluctuation are at increased risk of getting skin tags.
Whether Skin Tags Recur After It Has Been Removed ?
No. Skin tags do not grow again once they are removed. So far there is no proof that skin tags would grow on the same area where they are removed. Some obese people may develop skin tags on other areas of the body once they are totally cleared off from its site. For some others skin tags are removed regularly.
When Should I Bother About Skin Tags ?
Skin tags are in no way a tumor. It demands cosmetic attention if it occurs on visible areas like eyelids and on the face. If skin tags are very large or it bleeds and causes pain you need to consult your skin doctor. You need to visit your doctor at once if skin tags grow in size or changes color frequently. Your doctor may do a biopsy to check if it could be cancerous.
Are Skin Tags Inherited ?
Skin tags are not present during birth and they grow gradually.
Are Skin Tags Contagious ?
Skin tags are not contagious and it does not spread to others by touching or caressing.
Structure Of Skin Tag :
- Skin tags when observed under a microscope would show a small stalk to which soft skin tissue is attached.
- Epidermis is the outer layer of skin tag which encloses the inner dermis of flesh colored.
- Skin tags are formed due to abnormal growth of skin tissues (hyperplasia) on certain areas.
- Skin tags do not contain any hairs or moles in it.
What exactly triggers formation of skin tags is not clear. But often obese people have increased chance for getting it.
Skin tags can be seen as soft skin masses that are pink or flesh colored hanging loosely from the skin. They are not moles. They do not cause pain or discomfort. They occur on the eyelids, under the breasts and under armpits and even on the groins.
Skin tags can be easily detected by mere physical exam. However your dermatologist may look it through magnifying glass to check if there is any abnormality.
Skin tags typically require no treatment since they are not signs of any disease or condition. The only reason for removing skin tags is for cosmetic purpose. Skin tags are harmless and do not cause pain/discomfort. Skin tags can be removed if they are bothersome and occur on the groins or in the collar space causing irritation. In rare cases skin tags can start bleeding due to repeated friction of clothing. For some people it can caused discomfort when rubbed by jewels or seat belts.
How Skin Tags Are Removed ?
It is not a good idea to remove the skin tags on your own. Some of the creams and ointments that promise removal of skin tags are nothing but making cheap publicity for their products. It may also cause irritation of skin and secondary infection in some cases. You need to consult a skin doctor for getting suggestions for removing it.
- Cryotherapy :
Dermatologist would apply a drop of liquid nitrogen to freeze the soft tiny skin mass. It would shrink and wither off within few days leaving some space on which fresh skin layer will grow gradually. You may not feel any pain or discomfort while this procedure is done.
- Cautering :
Using minute electric current your skin doctor would cut off the skin tags carefully. This is an easy procedure which can be done at doctor’s office. The only precaution while doing this procedure is you should not shake your body which can make the doctor’s job more difficult. Complete removal of skin tag is possible in this simple process and fresh layer of skin will grow on the space. Your doctor may give a shot of Lidocaine or similar drug if the size of skin tag is large. Local anesthesia is given only for giving comfort for the patient and it is left to the choice of you and your doctor.
- Using Sharp Instruments :
There are some doctors who would remove skin tags using scissors or sterilized needles carefully. If it warrants removal of skin tags (big in size) under the breasts, doctor may suggest applying topical creams like Betacaine an hour before the procedure. This is highly useful for the areas where there are minute skin tags in large numbers and it requires removal from private parts.
No Coverage :
Since removal of skin tags are purely based on cosmetic purpose, you may not get insurance cover.
Skin Tags .Vs. Warts :
Skin tags differ from warts in their shape and structure. Warts are rough skin masses with irregular surface. But skin tags are soft skin tissues occurring in specific areas. Warts are flat structures but tags are bumps that hang from stalk. Warts are caused by HPV virus but skin tags have no known cause to appear.
If you have any doubts about skin tags, you can always consult your skin doctor who can tell you whether they are warts or other moles.