Our lives would have been much easier and better if we were all blessed with clean and clear skin, without blemishes or any other type of skin condition like skin tags. Since this is not possible in our practical day-to-day life, the next option is to keep ourselves aware of the various skin conditions that one can develop. In this article, let us know the causes of skin tags, risks, treatment plans, and preventive measures so that we can at least try to maintain and flaunt a smooth skin.
What Are Skin Tags?
You might have noticed a small piece of skin growing over the surface. It usually has a soft texture and might have a stalk or peduncle. This hanging skin is known as a skin tag. These are non-cancerous in nature meaning that they are benign tumors of the skin. Skin tags are made up of fat, nerve cells, fibers, ducts, and epidermis. In few cases, people hardly notice these painless skin tags which may or may not fall off on their own after a period of time, or if they are larger in size, then they may burst due to friction. These are harmless and can develop in both males and females. Medically, a skin tag is known as acrochordon.
Now that you are aware of what a skin tag is, read on to find out the skin tag causes and symptoms.
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What Causes Skin Tags?
The skin tags can appear on various body parts and may come into notice while you are shaving or if the skin tags come in contact with your clothes or jewelry. Appearance-wise, the skin tags may either be flesh-colored or light brownish with a smooth surface.
Currently, the skin tag causes are still not clear. Below are some of the reasons why a skin tag might occur –
- Obesity is one of the main reason for skin tag because insulin resistance occurs due to obesity, thus giving rise to skin tags.
- Friction is considered to be one of the major cause of skin tag since they usually appear in the skin folds and creases. So when a part of the skin rubs with another, it can lead to the development of skin tags.
- When the blood vessels and collagen clusters get trapped within the thicker parts of the skin, a skin tag can develop
- Pregnant women are more prone to skin tags as they are one of the side effects of pregnancy hormones. The weight gain during pregnancy is also one of the causes of skin tags.
- Your genes once again come into the picture as skin tags are genetic in nature. So if your parents or someone in your family has skin tags, it is quite possible that you might also be prone to them.
- Hyperinsulinemia is a condition which leads to an increase in the amount of insulin in our blood. The excess insulin can lead to the development of skin tags.
- With age also these skin tags can occurs with or without any underlying anomaly.
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Where Can You Get Skin Tags?
There is no one specific area where skin tags can occur. They can develop on any part of the body which is covered by the skin especially the skin folds. Some of the most common areas where skin tags can occur are face, neck, eyelids, armpits, under the breasts, groin and upper chest. The size of a skin tag can vary from 2mm to 1cm in diameter. In extreme cases, it can also reach a diameter of 5cm.
Who Tends To Get Skin Tags?
Anyone and everyone, age, and gender no bar, can develop skin tags during their lifetime. Adults are more prone to this condition with the skin tags occurring from their middle age up to 60 years. Overweight individuals and pregnant women are also more prone to developing skin tags. Skin tags may also occur in toddlers and kids (obese kids); however, it is not a common case.
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Skin Tag Removal Treatments
There are a couple of treatments available to remove skin tags, but care should be taken that these are carried out strictly by trained dermatologists or skin doctors. The main treatment for skin tag consists of surgery. It is advised not to opt for home remedies as they might end up damaging your skin further.
Under surgery, we have four different procedures that can be used for skin tag removal –
- Excision – This process involves skin tag removal with the help of a scalpel. The skin tag is completely cut off in this.
- Cryosurgery – In this process, a probe with liquid nitrogen is used to freeze off the skin tag
- Electrocautery or radio frequency– In this surgical method, electrocautery or radio frequency is used to burn off the skin tags.
- Ligation – This process makes use of a surgical thread which is tied around the skin tag. The surgical thread stops the blood flow which causes the skin tag to fall off after a certain period of time.
There are certain OTC solutions available which can freeze the skin tags and you will notice that after a week or 10 days, the skin tags have fallen on their own. But expert dermatologist recommendation is needed for sterile procedures.
What’s The Cost Of Skin Tag Removal?
The cost of skin tag removal depends upon the number of skin tags that you want to remove as well as the type of skin tag removal treatment that you choose. On and average, it can cost you about Rs. 500 to have a single skin tag removed.
Skin Tags Vs. Warts
Warts are viral infections whereas skin tags are harmless growths on the skin. The warts are contagious and they may spread whereas skin tags are not. The other difference is their appearance, wherein skin tags are usually an extension of your skin and are of the same color while warts don’t hang off your skin and are black or brown in color usually.
Also Read: How To Remove Warts On Face?
1. Will Removing A Skin Tag Cause More Skin Tags To Grow?
No, since they are not infectious they will not grow or spread post procedures. But they can come back if there is a family history or the person puts on weight again.
2. Is Skin Tag A Tumor?
Skin tags are often referred to as tumors on the skin; however, they are benign and non-cancerous in nature, that is they would not spread
3. Are Skin Tags Contagious?
No, skin tags are not contagious. They usually develop due to friction on the skin and insulin resistance.
4. Should I Worry About Cutting My Skin Tag By Shaving?
It is always recommended to consult your dermatologist as shaving a skin tag may cause bleeding and infection. Also if you have shaved a skin tag by mistake then apply pressure on it and keep the area clean. Refer to your dermatologist.
5. Do Skin Tags Need To Be Sent For Biopsy?
In majority of the cases, there is no need to send the skin tags for biopsy. But, sometimes, if the skin tags are too large or they appear different from their normal appearance, then they are sent for biopsy to confirm that it is just a skin tag and not some underlying skin condition.
6. How Effective Is Laser Skin Tag Removal?
Skin tag removal through laser is one of the most common and effective skin tag removal treatments. It is a painless treatment and requires just 1-2 sessions to completely get rid of them. But for minor cases radio frequency, electrocautery or cryosurgery would be more effective and quick.
7. What Is The After-Care Needed?
Some of the basic after-care regimens include keeping the treated area clean to avoid infections, applying antibiotic cream if the skin tag is removed using scalpel or clippers, monitoring your skin and always keeping it moist and hydrated, ensuring that the skin doesn’t become dry, etc. Do not pick or pluck the skin post removal procedure as it may cause infection.
Though skin tags are quite common and almost everyone develops them at some point or the other in their life, they are definitely unwanted and unsightly. For any skin tag, check with an expert dermatologist and get it treated in time before it proliferates further.