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Skin Tags-Should You Be Concerned?

Updated on November 10, 2015

Skin Tag

Skin tags, as the one pictured here, can be found on areas of the body where there are folds or creases. The neck, groin, armpits, and beneath the arms are a few of these more common areas
Skin tags, as the one pictured here, can be found on areas of the body where there are folds or creases. The neck, groin, armpits, and beneath the arms are a few of these more common areas

The way we feel inside about ourselves, is sometimes often reflected by how we appear on the outside. Not only to ourselves, but to others as well. When we are at the beach, or at home taking a shower, we may notice a variety of blotches on any given area of our body, that we never noticed before.

.And some of these blotches or skin lesions if you will, may without a doubt concern us to some degree. Even though there is usually no need for concern, it is always a good idea to be safe rather than sorry, when it comes to unusual changes to the skin.

Skin tags are one of the bits or pieces of skin that we usually find attached to other parts of our bodes, usually on the epidermal, or outter surface of the skin. They are not really blemishes or scars in a sense. Skin tags are exactly just that-skin tags. And they are soft, fleshy, loose bits of skin that initially have a stalk attached to them, beneath the skins surface.

They are pale in color, to having a light-brownish hue to them A skin tag is also referred to as an Acrochordon, or cutaneous papilloma. They like some moles, or other types of patches or blemishes on the skin, are benign or non cancerous...just to put your mind at ease.

They may look strange or even appear weird and feel bothersome or even uncomfortable. But they will not affect your health in any way. Skin tags generally come in all sizes...some smaller than others, and a few-a bit larger, which are less appealing to the eye. Skin tags are often associated with weight gain or obesity and are usually more common in women than men.

Some Physician's whom specialize in diseases of the skin for example,may debate over this fact however. Dermatologists tend to agree that skin tags are seen in equal distribution between men and women. Skin tags on women usually can be associated with pregnancy.

It is thought that when a women is pregnant, a larger number of hormones than usual are secreted. These additional secreted hormones; may account for the increase in the number of skin tags on a pregnant woman.

People who suffer from diabetes are also prone to skin tags. Besides being more common in obese, pregnant and diabetic individuals. Skin tags have been observed in elderly people and in those who utilize steroid compounds on a regular basis. For example weight-lifters, or other professional athletes.

Also skin tags can be genetically passed down from generation to generation. So if your grandmother for example had skin tags, or even your father, there is a good chance that if you have them, than that is most likely how they developed on your skin in the first place. And therefore they may possibly be a result of genetic predisposition.

It is sometimes thought that skin tags can result from skin friction. in other words skin rubbing upon skin. In addition they are more common in folds or creases of the skin. (e.g.)..under armpits, on the upper chest, eyelids, neck groin, under breasts, and even on the sides of the buttocks.

For the most part, skin tags are usually not bothersome to an individual or unsightly to others. On the other hand if you do have skin tags that are a bit larger and unappealing, 5mm or larger in most cases, than the good news is that they can be removed.

A good rule of thumb, is never try removing skin tags from anywhere on your body, leave that to the professional. The reason being is you could cause a more serious skin infection, if you try twisting, pulling, or even snipping the tag off yourself.

Do you remember when you were a kid and you picked the scab, as a result of having chicken pox? Well the result could be worse then the reminder of a scar, if you tried to remove a skin tag, in a similar fashion.

The skin tags do still contain a small number of blood vessels and other clumps of collagen that adhere to the underlying skin, supplying a constant amount of blood to the area. By trying to cut or remove them on your own, can in turn cause significant bleeding. And if you are a hemophiliac for example, that is something you do not want at all costs!

There are procedures that a dermatologist can use to remove them, f you want them removed professionally. Also your family doctor may have a small laser or electric heat gun in his or her office. Some physicians other than specialists are incorporating newer equipment into their offices these days. However do some research first.

Not all insurance companies cover removal of skin tags, unless you specifically go to a dermatologist. Even some dermatology offices will not take your insurance plan. So always check first as to whether you are going to your family doctor; or a skins specialist to have your tag or tags removed.

Otherwise you will be paying out of pocket for an uncovered procedure. For the most part most health insurances do cover removal of skin tags, and your physician can include it as part of a routine office visit for you.

Some of the more popular, minor surgical procedures used to remove skin tags are...Freezing them with liquid nitrogen. Removal via a surgical scalpel, or by cauterization...(employing electrolysis or heat)-to remove the tags. Also ligation-cutting off the supply of blood to the tag is sometimes utilized in addition.

I have found that electrolysis or removal by heat is a popular method, particularly in most family physician offices. Removing skin tags by a professional is a pain free procedure. Reason being, is because the doctor will always first numb the location of where the tag is to be removed. They do so by injecting you with lidocaine. Lidocaine works quickly and does a great job of making this area virtually free of pain during the removal of the skin tag.

This procedure should take no more than five minutes from start to finish. And afterward all the care that is needed, is placing a small amount of antiseptic cream over the excision and covering it with a band aid. You may experience a little discomfort, for about two or three days after the lidocaine wears off.

However the discomfort will subside quickly, particularly if you dab the area with a cotton ball soaked in hydrogen peroxide a few times per day. Also take a Q-tip and gently rub a small amount of 1% neosporin cream or ointment into the area where the skin tag was removed. Recover with a band aid. This will speed up the healing process.

Skin tags as previously mentioned are often not bothersome, or unsightly. And you may never notice them on a particular part of your body. Never the less it never hurts to exercise caution, and consult with a skin specialist at all times, when it involves any thing to do with your skin. Whether it be a mole, discolored patches of skin, a wart or even a skin tag.

Skin tags are painless and the procedures involved to remove them is painless as well. Picking, or twisting them off, just like picking scabs or popping pimples on your face, isn't exactly the most healthy or sanitary habit that you can get into. It reminds me of something my grandfather used to say to me as a kid..."If it ain't broken than don't fix it. " And believe me the old timers usually knew what they were talking about,

I believe the same thing applies to anything, in reference to body parts and things that may be attached to our bodies. An example would be the nose...the good lord gave us one nose, and we should be happy with the nose that we were born with.

Many people think otherwise and on the other hand, try to replace the old nose with a new one. And in the end are no better off than they were when they had the original one. Do you remember the issue the late Michael Jackson had with his nose job?

So in other words, If skin tags are not bothersome and you know already that they are not cancerous, than leave well enough alone, by not touching, pinching, twisting or playing with them in any way, shape or form! If it is that much of a concern to you. Then consult your healthcare practitioner, to set tour mind at ease and let them do all of the worrying for you.


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    • Jlbowden profile imageAUTHOR

      James Bowden 

      8 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Hello Denise:

      Thank you for providing your feedback in reference to my skin tags article. As I mentioned in the article, skin tags are usually more prevalent in people who are overweight, diabetic, or even in some pregnant women, because of the temporary gain of weight during the periods throughout pregnancy. Skin tags can and will increase in some people as a result of age. And as mentioned if a mole, or in this case skin tag turns from a lighter, to darker color, or even changes shape, I would personally consult your personal physician, or better yet a specialist such as a dermatologist to have your particular skin tags on your neck examined thoroughly. I hope my extra bit of feedback in relation to your skin tag problem helps shed a little extra light on this topic. JlB

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 

      8 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      It is interesting that skin tags are more common in people that are overweight or diabetic, of which I am neither, but I did have seven children, and my skin tags seem to have gotten worse with age. Do they ever go away on their own if you just leave them alone? Most of mine are on my neck, and they start light colored and eventually get darker.


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