Skin tags (medically called “acrochordon”) are tiny, benign raised bobbles of skin (skin growth). Skin tags often look like a small piece of soft, hanging skin but sometimes skin tags can grow big up to the size of a grape.
Skin tags tissue is usually soft and often hang away from the surface of the skin, as though they are only held on by a thin string – typically connected to the underlying skin by a thin stalk. Color of skin tags in most cases is the same color as the body skin; sometimes the color of skin tags could be slightly darker.
Skin tags are composed of a core of fibers and ducts, nerve cells and fat cells. Skin tags are covered by epidermis (outermost layers of cells in the skin). Skin tags are considered as bunches of collagen and blood vessels which are trapped inside thicker bits of “traumatized” skin.
Skin tags usually grow after birth and their frequency increases with aging. Skin tags can appear in any part of body but most typically they could be discovered in sites where clothing rubs against the skin or where there is skin-to-skin friction (underarms, neck, upper chest, groin).
SKIN TAGS – CAUSES
Genetic predisposition was noted in women with skin tags and skin tags can run in families.
Skin tags more commonly occur in skin creases or fold and this is why many professionals believed that skin tags develop and could be triggered by friction between adjacent areas of skin or between clothing and skin or by skin rubbing against skin. This is why the typical places of skin tags are underarms, upper chest (particularly beneath the big breasts in women), neck, eyelids and groin folds. And this is why skin tags could be discovered in obese women because of increased skin-to-skin contact and friction.
In many cases doctors cannot find any reasons for skin tags development and skin tags grow for unknown reasons.
It was noted that dramatic hormonal changes during pregnancy can also be a cause for skin tags during pregnancy (especially during the second trimester of pregnancy).
Diabetic women are tend to be more prone to skin tags – hormonal changes during diabetes can also trigger development of skin tags in different places of body surface.
Skin tags are not cancerogenous and they cannot be considered as pre-cancerous skin signals.
SKIN TAGS – SYMPTOMS
Symptoms of skin tags are very simple. Usually women discover flesh-colored or brown tags on the skin – skin tags could be smooth or wrinkled and range in size from very tiny (1 mm) to approximately the size of a grape. In many cases skin tags have a stalk that attaches the skin tag to the underlying skin. Sometimes women could discover very small skin tags which grow as raised bumps on the skin.
Skin tags are absolutely painless and usually don’t grow or change.
Sometimes skin tags could bleed if traumatized by cloths or unusual movements.
Generally speaking, skin tags are just unpleasant and could be considered as cosmetic and/or esthetic problem (especially for women).
SKIN TAGS – RISK FACTORS
• History of skin tags in the family,
• Diabetes (mainly type 2),
• Women with Human Papillomavirus (HPV),
• Steroid users.
SKIN TAGS – TREATMENT
Treatment of skin tags is very simple and not dangerous – treatment involves surgical removal of the skin tags. Surgical removal of skin tags can be done in different ways – by cutting with a blade or scissors, freezing with liquid nitrogen, or using electric cautery (burning). Doctors can use local anesthesia in cases of big and/or extended sizes of skin tags.
But nowadays market is full of simple solutions which can also simply remove skin tags.
Usually no medication is used for treatment of skin tags.
SKIN TAGS – PROGNOSIS
Skin tags prognosis is very positive – no risks for life or health. Skin tags are harmless. Only sometimes they can be irritated if clothing rubs against it.
In most cases skin tags don’t grow after removal (preferably professional removal or proper removal). But new skin tags could appear in other parts of the body.