Skin tags (acrochorda) are small benign skin growths. They commonly appear as small, irregularly shaped bumps of tissue that protrude from the surface of the skin, hanging from a fleshy stalk. Skin tags are usually brown or flesh-colored and can vary in size, shape and texture. They tend to develop in areas of skin that have folds or creases, such as the neck, eyelids, armpits, groin and under the breasts. Friction between adjacent areas of skin is thought to play a role in their development. People who are overweight or obese are more susceptible to developing skin tags due to increased skin-on-skin contact. Hormonal changes are also thought to be a factor, as skin tags are commonly seen in pregnant women. Skin tags are generally harmless, unless they are repeatedly irritated by contact with items such as clothing or jewelry. Depending on location, skin tags may also interfere with shaving. If they become too bothersome or if they are felt to be cosmetically unappealing, skin tags can be easily treated. Skin tags can be removed by a dermatologist with little pain or discomfort, and without the need for stitches. Complete recovery generally takes one or two weeks.
Common symptoms of skin tags include:
- Small irregularly shaped skin growth protruding from the surface of the skin
- Brown or flesh colored
- Appears in areas where skin creases, such as the neck, eyelids, armpits, groin and under the breasts
The exact cause of skin tags is uncertain, but skin-to-skin friction is thought to play a key role. Skin tags commonly appear on parts of the body where skin rubs up against itself or other materials. It is likely that there are stimulating skin hormones at play. Since skin tags are also commonly found in pregnant women, hormonal changes are also considered to be a contributing factor.
Certain skin tags may be sensitive and easily irritated, so it is advisable to use skincare products designed for sensitive skin. Use gentle cleansers and toners to keep your skin clean and clear. Avoid astringents that contain alcohol, which can dry out the skin. Make sure to keep the skin adequately hydrated by using a moisturizing cream daily. Look for products that are fragrance and allergen-free to minimize the chances of irritation. Avoid wearing jewelry or clothing that can rub against or get caught on a skin tag. Make sure to use sunscreen daily to protect your skin from harmful UV rays.
Since skin tags are believed to be caused by friction, there are a few steps you can take to reduce your chances of developing them. If you are overweight, you can reduce your chances of developing skin tags by controlling your weight through diet and exercise. Avoid wearing tight fitting or constricting clothing. You can also choose non-abrasive fabrics to reduce the severity of friction on your skin.
Over-the-counter sprays can freeze skin tags off. However, special care needs to be taken to avoid scarring, especially if applied to the face. Skin tags can also be removed at home by tying a thread around the base of the growth. This is will cut off blood supply to the skin tag, causing it naturally fall off within 48 hours.
The safest and most effective method to remove skin tags is a procedure such as cauterization, cryosurgery or surgical excision.
- Cryo sprays have been recently introduced
- Surgical Excision