If you’ve ever heard of the phrase “skin tag” you may be wondering just what those are. While your skin isn’t covered in store tags like you might imagine, that image isn’t terribly far from the truth.
What is a skin tag?
A skin tag is a small growth that can form on the skin where there is excessive skin and skin friction. These little growths will most often appear on the body around the armpit, thighs, eyelid, neck, groin, and under the breast area. What these areas have in common is they are places where the skin folds on the body, causing it to rub against itself. While skin tags aren’t cancerous or even dangerous to the body’s health, they can be very annoying especially when they appear in places like eyelids or necks.
So, what exactly is a skin tag?
Often these growths look very similar to moles with the main difference being size and attachment. Skin tags often stay on a small scale, while moles can grow to much larger sizes.
Tags are also connected to the body differently than moles because while a mole is flush to the skin with a slight bump, a skin tag is attached by a thin stalk called the “peduncle.” This stalk is what gives the growths a tag-like appearance because much like a store sales tag is attached by a small plastic piece, the skin tag is a nub being held on by the peduncle.
The two main factors that encourage the growth of skin tags are age and weight. The growths are more likely to appear the older you are. Children, teens, and young adults seldom have issues with these unless they play sports where they can appear in the arm pit area. Those who are overweight are more prone to skin tags as well because of the extra folds in the skin, however just because a person is overweight doesn’t mean they’ll absolutely get them. Nor does it mean a person won’t get skin tags because they aren’t overweight.
How to get rid of skin tags.
Even though skin tags can be frustrating and annoying to some, they do zero harm to the body. Because of this, the choice to remove them is purely cosmetic, but your dermatologist can remedy these just as easily as any other skin care issue.
Unlike many dermatological problems, there are no medications and creams that can prevent skin tags from forming. The easiest treatment is to have them removed in one of three ways by your dermatologist: cutting off, freezing, or electrocautery.
Your dermatologist can easily remove the growths with scissors or blades. Freezing involves the use of liquid nitrogen much as you would remove a wart from the skin. The last treatment type – electrocautery – uses a special heat generating medical apparatus that safely burns away the skin tag from the surface of your skin.
Any of these can be done with or without a local anesthetic like lidocaine or a numbing cream to minimize discomfort. One a skin tag is removed it is unlikely to grow back, however, this doesn’t prevent skin tags from growing elsewhere in the future.
Don’t let something as simple as skin tags diminish your self-confidence. Make an appointment with your dermatologist to figure out what the best route of treatment is for you. If you live in the Savannah or Vidalia areas, we’d love to take care of you. Click here to make an appointment.
Dermatology Associates offers a full spectrum of leading edge medical, surgical, and cosmetic dermatology services from offices in Savannah and Vidalia.