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Skin Tags

A skin tag is a condition of the skin wherein there is a small growth that appears on the skin. Furthermore, these are harmless and can be removed. This article provides some information about this condition.
Neil Valentine D'Silva
A skin tag first appears like a tiny bump on the skin which is probably the same color as the surrounding skin. But over time, the bump grows in size and hangs out. It would still remain skin-colored or it might darken a little, and it stays attached to the skin through a very narrow piece of skin called the stalk. This hanging fragment of skin becomes the skin tag. It is medically called acrochordon, pedunculated papilloma, or a fibroepithelial polyp.
This condition is not medically harmful - at least no problem associated with them has been unearthed till today. However, the biggest issue that people have is they look unsightly. This condition generally appears on the genitals and in the armpits. But occasionally, they can also occur on the neck and the face.
Since this condition is very clearly visible on the skin, there is no need to read into any symptoms. But there is a chance that one may get confused between skin tags and other epidermal growths. Commonly, it would begin as a bump on the skin which would be of the same color as that of their skin. There would be no itching or any sensation whatsoever. In time, this bump would start growing. Sooner than one thinks, a portion of this bump would hang out from the skin with a narrow attachment (the stalk) as mentioned above. There could be a slight darkening of color, but in most people the color would remain the same as that of the skin. By itself, this small growth will not make its presence felt in any other way except visually, and hence there are no remarkable symptoms.
This condition of the skin is very common and is believed that it is caused by skin rubbing against skin. There are no vulnerability factors associated with them. However, some patterns have been studied.
  • They occur more in women than in men.
  • Further, they have a higher chance of occurring as the person grows older.
  • While younger people have more chances of having them in hidden areas like the armpits or the groin, the middle-aged and older people have more chances of developing them in the visible areas that include the neck, the eyelids, the cheeks, and the hands.
  • Also, they have a chance of occurring during and after pregnancy.
  • These are common in the people affected by diabetes mellitus.
  • Some very rare ailments such as the Birt-Hogg-DubĂ© Syndrome and the Polycystic Ovary Syndrome are associated with the development of this condition.
  • It has been observed that they occur in greater measure when a person gains weight.
  • They also have a hereditary leaning. So, if someone in the family is affected by this condition, there is a possibility that one would also get affected by the same.
Many people get alarmed on the appearance of this condition as they quite naturally associate it with some kind of cancer. But, it has absolutely no relation with cancer. They would not grow into any complications and would just stay there.
However, there could be problems if the area of the skin is constantly irritated. One's clothes, jewelry or straps of the bags that one carries, etc. could irritate it. When this happens, it might get infected. Sometimes, it could break and there could be bleeding.
There is also the cosmetic repercussion that needs to be considered. This condition does look bad, and sometimes, especially as one ages, they start growing in clusters and that is a very ugly sight. However, there are methods of removing them without much ado.
Some people would go as far as snipping it off with a scalpel or some other such instrument. The result would, of course, be bleeding and a risk of infection. Of course, there is no need to do something as drastic as that. There are some creams available in the market that promise to remove them by regular application. However, there is no validation for these creams by any authorizing bodies.
Medically, they can be removed in some effective ways. Here is a list:
  • Applying heat to the stalk with the help of a blade so that it falls off
  • Blocking off the blood supply to the skin tag so that it rots and falls
  • Making an incision at the stalk and removing it
  • Freezing it with liquid nitrogen and removing it
All these are effective methods which might prove beneficial and may further prevent this condition from re-occurring. This can be done within a single sitting, on an outpatient basis, and even without using any anesthesia. On observation of this skin condition, it is better to consult the concerned doctor to confirm the same and also to rule out the possibility of further complications if any.
Disclaimer: This BeautiSecrets article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.