They go by various names, such as cutaneous papilloma, or soft fibroma, but the most common is skin tag. These small, painless outgrowths of soft hanging skin can appear anywhere on the body. Usually they occur sometime after you reach midlife, affecting the majority of people nearing their 70s, and they do not discriminate between genders. You will find them most often in places where skin rubs against skin or clothing.
The Truth About Skin Tags
Yes, skin tags are considered tumors of the skin, but they are not cancerous, nor do they increase the risk of cancer. They look like tiny ovals of soft skin and sometimes they seem to grow on a stalk. They can range in size from two millimeters to one centimeter. Large skin tags can grow up to five centimeters.
Currently, no one knows exactly why skin tags grow, although research is revealing several possibilities. It is a myth that more grow back when one is removed. It is thought that clusters of collagen and blood vessels become trapped inside thicker pieces of skin, causing the formation of a tiny tag of skin.
More recent research has shown a possible link between skin tags and metabolic health. The growths might be indicative of lipid disorders, hypertension, diabetes, colonic polyps and Crohn’s disease as well as other conditions. People with skin tags seem to be at a higher risk for these issues.
The skin tags do not present a problem themselves, even though it is possible they may signal a health issue or the onset of one. They can be irritating if they get caught in clothing or jewelry. Usually individuals want them removed for cosmetic reasons.
Treatment for Skin Tags
Removing a skin tag yourself can result in bleeding and/or infection. Though there are many over-the-counter products for their removal, it is always best to seek the advice of a doctor first. Your doctor can advise you on the most effective and safe way to get rid of your skin tags.
Surgical removal can be accomplished by various methods and should be done by a professional. They can be burned off using electrolysis. Liquid nitrogen is sometimes used to freeze them. Interrupting the skin tag’s blood supply, or ligation, is another method. Cutting it out with a scalpel is called excision.
Skin tags can be annoying. If you are considering removing yours, contact Dr. Mark Jones. Have your skin tags removed safely and effectively. Contact our office for more information.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Mark Mitchell Jones, Atlanta Plastic Surgery Specialists, P.C.