Skin tags are a very common physical condition that affects many people on a regular basis. While not dangerous to a person's overall health, skin tags can become irritated very easily and may cause embarrassment for those who have them. For those who choose to have their skin tags removed, there are several different methods available. Both over-the-counter and professional methods can be used to freeze skin tags off.
What Are Skin Tags?
Skin tags, also known as acrochordons, are small benign tumors that generally consist of blood vessels, fibers and collagen that become lodged together and form a lump under the skin. They are usually tan or skin-toned in color, and small skin tags may resemble warts. Skin tags are extremely common skin growths that can occur on anywhere on the body. Over time, the skin tag will slowly increase in size. As skin tags become larger, they begin to hang off of the body and can grow to over three quarters of an inch. Normally, however, skin tags are much smaller and are one quarter of an inch or smaller.
Where Do They Occur?
While skin tags can occur in any location on the body, they are most commonly seen in places where skin-on-skin contact or rubbing regularly occurs. Areas of the body that skin tags most frequently occur include the chest and breast area, neck, eyelids, groin, buttocks and armpits.
Why Do They Form?
Currently, medical professionals and researchers are not quite sure what exactly causes skin tags to form. They regularly occur in both genders and all races of people. However, some groups of people seem to develop them more frequently than others. Those who are overweight or who have Type 2 diabetes seem to be more susceptible to skin tags than the rest of the population. Many pregnant women also tend to develop skin tags as a side effect of their pregnancy. These groups may be affected by skin tags more than others due to the fact that they more opportunity for skin to rub against itself on their bodies. Additionally, skin tags are generally seen in older half of the population and occur later in life.
Is it a Tag or a Wart?
Some people are unsure if they have a skin tag or a wart developing on their body. Generally, warts are bumpy and rough, while skin tags are very smooth like normal skin. Warts do not become extended enough to hang from the body. Additionally, warts can spread and appear in multiples on the body very quickly. Skin tags develop slowly and do not cause more to grow.
Are They Dangerous?
Skin tags may look scary or unattractive, but they do not pose any serious health risks. While they are considered to be tumors, they are not cancerous and are no reason for concern. They do not cause any pain on their own, but they become irritated due to abrasions or getting pulled. Some people have issues trying to shave when they have skin tags, especially if they are located on the neck, face or armpits. Necklaces can snag skin tags on the neck or chest, as well, and particularly tight or scratchy clothing can also irritate them. In some situations, a large amount of pressure may cause a skin tag to rip or burst open. The worst that can happen in these situations is bleeding and mild pain.
How to Get Rid of Them?
While Skin Tags are not a serious health concern and are not dangerous, some people may wish to have them removed. This may be to avoid irritation or pulling of the skin tags if they are located in an inconvenient place, or they may be removed for aesthetic reasons. Some people feel self-conscious or embarrassed by their skin tags, especially if they are located in an obvious location like the face or neck. There are several different choices for skin tag removal methods:
Liquid nitrogen can be used to freeze the skin tag off. It may take several days for a tag to fall off following this treatment, but it is a quick and easy process for a physician to perform.
Skin tags can be burnt off, or cauterized, by a medical professional. This type of treatment is generally painless and similar to professional wart removal.
A doctor can cut the skin tag out of a patient, but this method may leave a small scar and requires special healing.
There are some over-the-counter methods available for removing skin tags. They will freeze the tag off like liquid nitrogen from a doctor will, but the results take much longer.
Skin tags, while unpleasant in appearance, are not actually harmful at all. At worst, they can become scratched or pulled and may bleed. Otherwise, the only issues caused are aesthetic. In some cases, it is best to have the skin tags removed due to their location or due to embarrassment. There are several simple professional and over the counter skin tag removal methods.