Skin tags are common and harmless growths that often appear where skin rubs against itself – such as on eyelids, under the folds of the breasts, groin, armpits, and neck. Known medically as acrochordon, they are typically non-cancerous tumors that begin as a small bump and range from 2mm to 5mm on average; although they can grow up to the size of a dime.
It’s usually smooth textured and irregular in shape with average flesh color or slightly darker. They can occur individually but often appear in groups. They consist of a core of tissue, including nerve and fat cells and a covering of skin.
Who gets skin tags?
When collagen and blood vessels become trapped inside thicker bits of skin the result could be a tag. Gender does not determine the potential to grow them, and in fact they can occur on anyone, but those most prone tend to be middle aged obese individuals. Heredity does play a role in the potential to grow a acrochordons, as well as diabetes and pregnancy as both these types of individuals are more likely to develop the growths. Overall the national Institute of Health (NIH) says that 46% of all people have skin tags.
Removing a skin tag
As humans, we tend to be frustrated imperfection and the soft, balloon like growths are not well liked by the general population. If you are one of the thousands of people who are prone to skin tags, you may have just one or dozens of them over your body. They may be removed for cosmetic reasons or for medical reasons depending on their location on the body. Removing a skin tag will not cause more to grow. Common treatments include:
- Cauterization – burning off using heat
- Cryosurgery – freezing off using liquid nitrogen
- Ligation – the blood supply is interrupted often using a thread or suture
- Excision – cutting out and removing with a scalpel
Larger growths and those near the eyes should be removed by a physician or ophthalmologist due to the increased risks associated with injury, bleeding and irritation; whereas small ones may be removed without consequence.
Consultation with a physician is recommended prior to any type of home treatment to ensure that the potential for injury, infection and irritation to the site is reduced. If the growth is irregular in texture, has any pain associated with it, or is of a color other than indicated in this article, see a physician promptly.