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Skin Tags – Guide, Tips and Treatment

Skin Tags are tiny, soft growth of skin connected by a thin stalk to the underlying skin surface. Skin tags are ubiquitous, painless, harmless and non-cancerous.

They are most commonly seen at the underarms, neck, upper chest, and groin.

A skin tag is medically termed as an “Acrochordon”. People often confuse Skin Tags with Warts or Moles.

If there is a skin tag, you don’t like or is troubling you due to occasional pain book an appointment and get in touch with us.

And Read on for a more in-depth knowledge:

What is a skin tag?

A skin tag is a pouch-like extension of the skin containing a small central artery surrounded by fibrous tissue which in turn is surrounded by skin. Skin tags are not cancerous. There may be a single skin tag or many tags in the same area. They begin as a painless bump and gradually increase in size. They may be as small as a grain of rice to a few centimetres large.
They are not painful but if one gets twisted on its stalk, it may become painful or may bleed. 

Why do skin tags form? What causes skin tags? 

Although the exact cause of skin tags is not known a few associations have been consistently found.

  • They occur in sites where clothing rubs against the skin or where there is skin-to-skin friction, such as the underarms, neck, upper chest, and groin.
  • Skin tags increase with age and are more prevalent after the age of 40.
  • They may run in families.
  • Increased skin tags have been reported in diabetic patients.
  • They may also be associated with obesity. Although there is no metabolic reason yet found, it is thought that the enlarged skin bulges rub against each other more.
  • An increased incidence in pregnancy has also been reported which may indicate a hormonal influence on the skin. 

How to identify a skin tag? How are skin tags different from a mole or a wart?

A skin tag, a mole or a wart may appear very similar, and it is always a good idea to visit your physician to find out more. But there are a few general differences that may help you to identify a skin tag.

Moles are stuck on the skin like a dome. They arise from deeper layers of skin and so do not have a stalk. They are a bit firm as compared to a skin tag. Most importantly moles are very dark coloured. They appear almost black in most of the cases whereas even if skin tags are dark-coloured, they appear as a darker shade of skin.

Click this link to know more about Moles.

Warts are much fleshier than a skin tag and usually grow much more rapidly. They have a thicker stalk and are not as smooth as a skin tag. Warts have an irregular surface. When we touch a skin tag, it feels like a soft skin bag whereas a Wart feels rough and different.

It is essential to differentiate between warts and moles and skin tags because of the problems the other two may pose. Warts are usually active HPV virus infections, they are contagious and spread on the skin if not treated early. Moles may turn malignant. 

What problems can occur because of skin tags?

  • Skin tags don’t look pretty.
  • Skin tags can twist on their pedicle and can cause pain.
  • Skin tags can get entangled in jewellery or clothing causing irritation and bleeding.
  • Injured skin tags due to above reasons can also get infected. 

Can you remove skin tags yourself? Are there any home remedies to get rid of skin tags? 

Yes and no. It is not a good idea to try to remove skin tags at home. There are many home remedies for Skin Tags – Skin Tag removal cream, Medicines, Freezing etc. To get rid of Skin Tags at home by using Skin Tag removal products can cause pain, allergy, infections and they will undoubtedly leave a scar. Healing will take a long time.

There are a lot of websites advising home remedies to take care of skin tags. But you should remember that merely tying them off may cause blackening, bleeding, pain and infection in which case you will have to visit the surgeon anyway. Let the healthcare professionals do their job as they are the most suited to treat the problem. 

How are Skin Tags removed?

Skin tags may be burned, frozen or removed with a scalpel.

A ‘Scarless Skin Tag removal’ employs RF skin surgery to shave off the tags without bleeding and pain.

The surgeon first numbs the area with topical ointment and then removes the skin-tag with a precise RF-Cautery instrument. The technique is quick, does not cause any bleeding as the vessels get coagulated immediately. There is no damage to the surrounding skin, so the healing is also rapid. All that remains is a small dot like scar which is visible only on very close inspection.

Dr. Vishal Purohit

Dr. Vishal Purohit

Cosmetic & Plastic Surgeon

Dr. Vishal Purohit is a board-certified Plastic Surgeon practicing in the Pink City Jaipur, Rajasthan. He is well versed in Cosmetic Surgery, Facial Aesthetic Surgery, Reconstructive Surgery, Hand Surgery, Microvascular Surgery, and Burns Surgery.

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