Sunday - Oct 17, 2021

Should You Be Afraid of Having Skin Tags?

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When you look in the mirror, do you notice  small pieces of skin hanging on your skin?  This tiny sack of skin is popularly known as skin tag or acrochordon. 

Skin tags can grow on almost any part of the body, but typically they exist in areas where the skin rub against skin like the eyelids, neck, upper chest, armpits, under the breast and groin.   Skin tags are don't have any symptoms unless, you accidentally rub or scratched it, which may result in irritation on your skin which can be painful. It is important to note that skin tags are not harmful in any way.

These small tags of skin have ducts, fibers, fat cells, nerve cells and an epidermis.  Thus, when it is repeatedly scratched or rubbed it may burst due to pressure.  This usually happens when you scratch it while shaving or rub it with jewelry or clothing.

Skin tags are irregular in shape with a smooth texture.  These tags can look slightly brownish or flesh colour.  They are usualy small and flattened and  range in size from 2mm up to 1cm, however in some cases, it may grow as big as 5cm.  It commonly occurs in skin fold or creases due to rubbing of two skin.

Why Do People have Skin Tags?

There are a number of reasons why people are susceptible to skin tags.  Usually persons who are obese, pregnant and those who suffer diabetes are prone to skin tags. Overweight and obese people have high risks of getting skin tags because they have a lot of skin creases and folds. 

Due to changes in hormones, pregnant women are also prone to have skin tags.  Individuals having diabetes are at risk of having it, as well.  This is because obesity leads to Diabetes Type 2.

People having human papilloma virus like HPV 6 and 11 usually get skin tag.  Illegal use of steroid can interfere with the normal growth of muscles and tissues, causing abnormal growth of collagen fibers.  This can provide a favourable growth for skin tags.

Skin tags can also be caused by a genetic component.  People with family members who are also having skin tags have a higher chance that they too will have skin tags. So you can also blame it on heredity.

Skin tags affects both female and male.  Other people may have this soft fibroma, but it goes unnoticed because it may have fallen off or rubbed painlessly.  But it doesn’t happen all the time.

Skin tags are common but it generally appears after midlife.   Thus, the chance of having skin tags increases as one gets older. In fact, the U.S. National Institutes of Health reported that around 46% of Americans have skin tags. Although this happens rarely, skin tags are associated with polycystic ovary syndrome and Birt-Hogg-Dube Syndrome.

Although skin tags are not malignant, it is important to be aware of its growth so you can consult your doctor if you think you are having some issues with it.  It may seem small but for some people who have skin tags located under the breast or groin, it may feel more uncomfortable for them.  This is particularly true if it reaches its biggest size which is 5cm.

What is the treatment for skin tags?

Actually, there is no any need to treat skin tags as they are common as one age and it is not cancerous.  However, you may opt to remove it if you feel conscious and uncomfortable.  You may consult a dermatologist, so they can assists you in removing it.  Usually, some of the common procedures used is removing it surgically, freezing it, or through electrolysis.

Even if skin tag is not dangerous, it is not recommended to remove skin tags on your own. It may seem tempting to cut it off using a scissor but it could further lead to complications and or infections.  Unsterilized scissors may cause infection and cutting the small and hanging skin may result to excessive bleeding. Skin tags have its own blood supply hence you need to consult a dermatologist to help you remove it.

If you try to use chemicals and acids to remove skin tags it may damage the surrounding skin.  This may lead to permanent discoloration particularly if you use an acid to remove it. If you try to remove skin tags by yourself, there is a high possibility of getting a permanent scarring of your skin.  More importantly, only a doctor has the capabilities to recognize the difference between a skin tag and a malignant tumor.  They can also examine you, if this tiny hanging skin is secondary or probably a result of a particular disorder or not.

To be safe, consult your doctor for further examination. Make some lifestyle changes as well, to help prevent the occurrence of skin tags as you get older.