Skin tags are additional bits of skin that protrude from the body’s surface. Even though they are purely cosmetic and harmless, knowing what they are and aren’t might give you peace of mind. In spite of the fact that the exact source of skin tags isn’t usually identified, they are simple to eradicate.
What a Skin Tag Looks Like and How to Spot One
Skin tags can range in size from 1 millimeter to 1 centimeter, and on rare occasions even larger, according to dermatologist Rebecca Baxt, MD, of Paramus, New Jersey. According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology (AOCD), skin tags, also known as acrochordons, are typically flesh-colored growths, however, some may be darker in color. They could be directly on the skin’s surface or they might appear to grow from a small skin stalk and hang off the body.
According to Dr. Baxt, they frequently develop on the eyelids, neck, under the arms, groin, and other areas of the body with folds, though they can also be seen elsewhere. They usually don’t get any bigger once they’ve formed. You might only have one or two, or you might have several; they could be scattered over your body or in a group with other skin tags. They are typically asymptomatic, and visual examination is used to make the diagnosis. Baxt advises seeing a dermatologist if anything on your skin is growing, changing, bleeding, itchy, crusty, flaky, or changing color because it can be challenging to self-diagnose skin tags.
Skin Tag Causes and Risk Factors: A Common Illness
Skin tags are quite typical. According to the AOCD, over half of adults are thought to have at least one skin tag. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), they become more prevalent as people get older.
Although the exact cause of skin tags is unknown, according to Baxt, pregnancy, and weight gain are the two main risk factors. She continues, “Staying a normal weight is the only method to prevent skin tags. According to the AOCD, they are also more prevalent in those with diabetes and a family history of skin tags. According to the AOCD, one explanation explains why skin tags frequently develop in body folds: the friction caused by skin rubbing against skin, a side consequence of being overweight, creates skin tags in some people.
According to the National Organization for Rare Disorders, in a small percentage of cases, skin tags may be a sign of nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome (NBCCS), a complex genetic illness in which people are predisposed to developing basal cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer. One study suggests that basal cell carcinoma in children that resembles a skin tag may serve as a signal for NBCCS.
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Simple Surgical Methods for Skin Tag Removal
The AAFP states that when skin tags are tugged and irritated, they occasionally fall off on their own. According to Baxt, the only way to get rid of skin tags is to have a dermatologist perform a quick operation to remove them.
You can decide against any skin tag therapy depending on where your skin tags are located because out of sight can also mean out of mind. But if, for example, you have a skin tag on your eyelid and it makes you seem unattractive, you might want to get it removed for cosmetic reasons. Skin tags should also be removed if they are in a location that experiences a lot of friction, even merely from wearing clothing or jewelry, as this can lead to inflammation and bleeding.
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Treatment options include electrocautery, which uses heat to burn off skin tags and destroy tissue, and cryosurgery, which removes skin tags by freezing the skin. Another method is to use surgical scissors to remove any dangling skin tags. According to Baxt, they are straightforward surgical treatments that result in little pain, little need for recuperation, and little scarring. Skin tags can, however, occasionally come back and even develop new ones.
Skin tags can be an annoyance or an aesthetic issue despite not being at all hazardous. However, it’s also acceptable to disregard them. One word of advice: If the appearance of a skin tag changes, consult your doctor or dermatologist as you would with any alterations to your skin.