All you need to know about skin tags

Skin tags on the body

What are Skin Tags?

Skin tags are benign growths that occur as small folds or skin flaps. Predominantly, these soft, painless and noncancerous lesions hang off in areas where the skin forms creases, such as under the breasts, armpit and groin. They also appear on the face, neck, and thighs. Regardless of gender, tags can stick out on anyone’s skin, although they tend to occur in older people. They are also more common in obese individuals and in those with diabetes mellitus type 2.

Is it a Skin Tag or Mole?

Certain structures are often confused with skin tags. Some people easily mistake them with accessory tragus and accessory digits. If you’re not sure, a dermatological examination, which is often accompanied by a biopsy of the tissue, can help clear doubts. Another way to distinguish skin tags from moles, warts and other skin growths is by the peduncle, a small stalk from which these small skin bumps hang. Generally, skin tags do not change over time, although they may grow larger. As it has been seen, they are tiny – typically 2 millimeters in size – and can only grow up to half an inch long. They may appear flesh-colored and soft to touch. Pink or brown skin bumps that bleed and resemble tags require a biopsy to eliminate possible causes such as skin cancer.

Causes of Skin Tags

The exact cause of a skin tag is not known. But one thing’s for sure, they show up in skin folds. That is why they are common in overweight people. Some reports reveal that most of us if not all, will acquire skin tags at some point in life. Generally, this happens later in adulthood, while the prevalence increases as one approaches the age of 60. Although not bothersome, pregnant women may experience increased formation of skin tags due to hormone elevations.

Skin Tag Removal

Are skin tags a nuisance to you? Depending on where skin tags emerge, you may consider removal. Clustered skin tags on eyelids or neck can make you uncomfortable about the way you look. Large skin tags are not only a bother, but they can also cause irritation when they rub against clothing, jewelry or skin. Other people consider skin tag removal to make shaving easier under the arms and face.

Luckily, there are treatment options to relieve you from annoying skin lesions. Skin tags contain blood vessels, therefore, it’s essential for a dermatology provider to remove any skin tags. To decide which method is best to get rid of skin tags, discuss thoroughly all the procedures with a dermatologist. For instance, in surgical procedures, your doctor may suggest a biopsy as a precaution against cancerous growths. Once a growth is established as a skin tag, depending on the size and location, heat (cauterization) or a scalpel can be used to snip off the growth. Some skin tags can also be treated with laser removal.


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About Schweiger Dermatology Group

Schweiger Dermatology Group was founded to help make excellent dermatology care accessible throughout the Northeast. In 2010, Dr. Eric Schweiger started the practice with a single location in Midtown Manhattan. When he saw the need for high-quality dermatology care that did not require weeks or months of waiting to see a qualified provider, his vision of a multi-location practice was born.

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