Skin tags are small, soft, skin-colored growths that hang from the skin and resemble warts. It is very common. There are many treatments available for esthetic purposes. It does not cause any discomfort in most of the patients.
The skin tag is an outgrowth of the skin. It is made up of collagen and blood vessels. The skin tag is covered by the skin. They are painless. The skin tag is technically called acrochordon. It might have a stalk most of the time. In a few cases, it might be pedunculated, too. Skin tags commonly occur in places where the skin comes into contact with itself or clothing, like the neck, armpits, groin, and eyelids. It is hard to predict how many days it will last.
Although the exact reason for their appearance is unknown, they are thought to be associated with the following:
Friction between skin surfaces - It can occur more in the summer season due to the deposition of sweat in the neck, thighs, and armpits.
Insulin resistance - It is a condition in which the cells of the individual’s body fail to respond well to the insulin that is secreted. As a result, the pancreas tries to make up additional insulin for the body. The appearance of more skin tags can very well indicate diabetes.
Obesity - This is due to the increased levels of insulin in the blood than the normal levels. Obesity can also be related to diabetes. Hyperinsulinemia refers to elevated insulin levels in the bloodstream. Many growth factors are stimulated in hyperinsulinemia.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy - The hormones will be very over-reactive during pregnancy. This leads to additional growth in the uppermost layer of the skin. The skin tags that occur during pregnancy can be due to higher hormone levels and high rates of friction of the stomach that is happening in the final trimester of pregnancy.
Small, soft, flesh-colored, or slightly darker growths.
Typically painless and benign.
May vary in size from a few millimeters to a centimeter.
They may cause cosmetic issues, depending on where they are located.
They can be a nuisance when formed on the eyelids.
Rarely, when there is excessive rubbing of the skin, they may cause irritation and bleeding.
An individual is more prone to developing skin tags if they are overweight, pregnant, have a family member with the same, have prediabetes/type-2 diabetes, or have an HPV (human papillom) infection.
Its appearance is highly variable, but it is often skin-colored and, at times, gets darker due to pigmentation. It usually hangs from a stalk (base). The size varies from 1 mm to 5 cm. The texture is frequently soft and fleshy, but the bigger skin tags may be wrinkly.
A visual examination by a dermatologist is usually sufficient to differentiate it from a wart or a mole. In some cases, a biopsy may be ordered by the doctor if he or she wants to rule out other skin conditions.
Is Skin Tag a Tumor?
It is a harmless, benign tumor. Generally, it is not cancerous. They do not increase the risk of cancer either. If there is a need to get them removed, that would be a safe option. Removing them does not cause them to spread or reappear. For people who are prone to it, new ones can appear at different sites at any point, irrespective of whether you get the existing ones removed or not.
What Are the Treatment Options?
Generally, no treatment is required unless it is bothersome or poses a cosmetic issue. Treatment options include:
Home Remedies: Apple cider vinegar is known to be helpful in the treatment of skin tags. It can be soaked in a cotton ball and placed over it. Bandages are placed to hold the cotton tight. It is removed after 15 minutes. Later, it is cleaned with water.
Cryotherapy: It is a method that uses liquid nitrogen for the treatment of skin tags. The tags in the skin are made to stop its growth by freezing in a particular area. This treatment method is known to be very harmless and easy to proceed with. The results are also known to be better when compared to the other methods because it does not cause any recurrence. The destruction of the skin tag occurs in a controlled manner.
Electrosurgery: Electrosurgery uses the application of high-frequency waves. Here, electric currents are used to cut the biological tissues. The advantage of this method is that it restricts the amount of blood loss in the patients during the removal of skin tags. The disadvantage of electrosurgery is that it can cause sudden and sharp pain during the procedure. This process of removing the skin tag by burning is known as cauterization.
Diathermy: It is similar to electrosurgery. The term diathermy refers to the procedure which uses dielectric heating. In dielectric heating, radio waves contribute to the production of heat at higher temperatures.
Electrocautery: Electrocautery is a method in which a probe like an instrument is heated at high temperatures from the electrical current. The probed instrument is placed on the skin tag for removal.
Ligation: It is a procedure in which a ligature is tied tightly to the blood vessel. There are different types of ligation, like chemical ligation, tubal ligation, rubber-band ligation, and others. In rubber band ligation, a small band is placed on the base of the skin. It later cuts out the blood supply, leading to the fall off.
What Are the Precautionary Measures?
It is not advised to use nail cutters or clippers to remove the tag. It will result in intensive bleeding and scarring.
Keeping all the folds of the skin clean might help you stay away from these problems.
If any particular clothing or jewelry affects the skin, then it is necessary to avoid it.
Removal of skin tags on the penis, skin tags on the scrotum or other genital areas, and skin tags on eyelids should be done supervised by a healthcare provider due to the delicate nature of the area.
Self-removal methods are not advised in delicate areas to avoid potential complications or infections.
Skin tags are common and benign growths that, while often harmless, may cause mild discomfort or cosmetic concerns. Fortunately, various safe and effective treatments are available for their removal, offering relief and enhancing well-being.
Frequently Asked Questions