Skin Tag; Frequently Asked Questions
What are skin tags?
Skin tags are benign out growth on the skin. These harmless growths of skin can be right on the skin surface or seem to sprout from a thin stalk of skin and hang off the body. Also called cutaneous tags, soft fibromas, acrochordons, and fibroepithelial polyps, skin tags are mostly flesh-colored growths, although some may be darker in color.
Skin tags are small, usually measured in millimeters, but can grow to a half-inch in length. A skin tag may start to develop without you’re even noticing. They can show up virtually anywhere on the body, but are most often on the eyelids, the neck, the groin area, armpits and under breast of women.. You may have just one or two or many, and they might be in isolated spots or in a group with many skin tags.
What causes the skin tag?
Skin tags are very common. Skin tags are made of loose collagen fibers and blood vessels surrounded by skin. Collagen is a type of protein found throughout the body. Both men and women can develop skin tags. Skin tags are more common among people with diabetes and obesity. Pregnant women may also be more likely to develop skin tags as a result of changes in their hormone levels. Some people develop them for no apparent reason. Skin tags tend to grow in the skin folds, where the skin rubs against itself, such as on the neck, armpits or groin. The friction created by skin rubbing against skin explains why skin tags often grow in body folds and this is why they tend to affect overweight people who have excess folds of skin. Repetitive friction and wearing tight clothes may contribute to skin tags in people who are overweight.
Can a skin tag turn into cancer?
Skin tags are harmless. They are not pre-cancerous, cancerous and they do not increase the risk of cancer. Skin tags are usually small growth of tissue that hang from the skin on a tiny stalk. They may appear alone or in a group.
Do skin tags go away on their own?
The answer is no. Skin tags are often compared to warts or other benign skin growths, but they are very different conditions.
Can skin tag be a problem?
Skin tags are harmless and don't usually cause pain or discomfort. However, you may consider having skin tags removed if they're affecting your self-esteem, or if they snag on clothing or jewelry and bleed. You'll usually need to pay to have this done privately. The reason is that skin tag removal is regarded as cosmetic treatment.
What are Skin Tag Treatment Options?
Depending on where your skin tags are located, you may choose any skin tag treatment. However, for cosmetic reasons like when they are on your eyelids you may wish to get rid of them. Another reason to have a skin tag removed is if it is on an area that gets a lot of friction like under arms or under breasts or around neck which cling into the neckless and cause irritation and bleeding.
Skin tag treatment is relatively simple. Options include
cryosurgery - removing the tag by freezing the skin
cautery - burning off or destroying the tissue with heat
Surgical excision - If the skin tag is indeed hanging, cutting it off with medical scissors is another option.
Because skin tags are considered harmless, the tissue is not usually analyzed after it’s removed the way a typical tumor would be.
There is no recovery time needed and skin tag treatment usually leaves no trace of the tag — there shouldn’t be any scarring. However, although that skin tag doesn’t grow back, new skin tags may form.