Pictures, Causes, Symptoms, Locations & Prevention

0
109


What does a skin tag look like?

Skin Tags: Should They Be Removed?

Most doctors recommend removal of skin tags only when they are irritated or a source of discomfort, or if they constitute a cosmetic problem. Skin tags can be easily removed in the doctor’s office by tying or cutting them after injecting a small amount of a local anesthetic. Freezing, a technique sometimes used to remove warts or other benign lesions of the skin, is also sometimes performed for the removal of skin tags.

A doctor examines skin tags on a woman's neck.

Early on, skin tags may be as small as a flattened pinhead-sized bump.Source: iStock, Schweintechnik

What is a skin tag?

Skin tags are common, acquired benign skin-colored growths that resemble a small, soft balloon suspended on a slender stalk. Skin tags are harmless growths that can vary in number from one to hundreds. Males and females are equally prone to developing skin tags. Obesity seems to be associated with skin tag development. Although some skin tags may fall off spontaneously, most persist once formed. The medical name for the skin tag is acrochordon. Some people call them “skin tabs.”

Early on, skin tags may be as small as a flattened pinhead-sized bump. While most tags typically are small (2 mm-5 mm in diameter) at approximately one-third to one-half the size of a pencil eraser, some skin tags may become as large as a big grape (1 cm in diameter) or a fig (5 cm in diameter).

A 3-D illustration shows where skin tags can occur on the body.

Skin tags can occur almost anywhere on the body covered by skin.Source: iStock

Where do skin tags occur?

Skin tags can occur almost anywhere on the body covered by skin. However, the two most common areas for skin tags are the neck and armpits. Other common body areas for the development of skin tags include the eyelids, upper chest (particularly under the female breasts), buttock folds, and groin folds. Tags are typically thought to occur where skin rubs against itself or clothing. Babies who are plump may also develop skin tags in areas where skin rubs against skin, like the sides of the neck. Younger children may develop tags at the upper eyelid areas, often in areas where they may rub their eyes. Older children and preteens may develop tags in the underarm area from friction and repetitive skin rubbing from sports.

Skin tags typically occur in the following characteristic locations:

  • The base of the neck
  • Underarms
  • Eyelids
  • Groin folds
  • Buttock folds
  • Under the breasts

Anyone can get skin tags, but they are most common among adults.

Although tags are generally acquired (not present at birth) and may occur in anyone, more often they arise in adulthood.Source: Bigstock

Who tends to get skin tags?

More than half if not all of the general population has been reported to have skin tags at some time in their lives. Although tags are generally acquired (not present at birth) and may occur in anyone, more often they arise in adulthood. They are much more common in middle age, and they tend to increase in prevalence up to age 60. Children and toddlers may also develop skin tags, particularly in the underarm and neck areas. Skin tags are more common in overweight people.

Hormone elevations, such as those seen during pregnancy, may cause an increase in the formation of skin tags, as skin tags are more frequent in pregnant women. Tags are essentially harmless and do not have to be treated unless they are bothersome. Skin tags that are bothersome may be easily removed during or after pregnancy, typically by a dermatologist.

Although skin tags are generally not associated with any other diseases, there seems to be a group of obese individuals who, along with many skin tags, develop a condition called acanthosis nigricans on the skin of their neck and armpits and are predisposed to have high blood fats and sugar.

Certain structures resemble skin tags but are not. Accessory tragus and an accessory digit occasionally can be confused with skin tags. Pathological examination with a biopsy of the tissue will help distinguish skin tags if there is any question as to the diagnosis.



QUESTION


An average adult has about ________ square feet of skin.
See Answer

Removing skin tags will not cause more to grow.

There is no expectation of causing skin tags to “seed” or spread by removing them.Source: iStock

Is a skin tag a tumor?

Skin tags are a type of harmless skin growth or benign tumor. Tags are generally not cancerous (malignant) and don’t become cancerous if left untreated.

There are extremely rare instances where a skin tag may become precancerous or cancerous. Skin tag-like bumps that bleed, grow, or display multiple colors like pink, brown, red, or black can require a biopsy to exclude other causes, including skin cancer.

Skin tags are not contagious.

Other skin growths that may look similar to a skin tag but not tag include moles (dermal nevus), nerve and fiber-type moles (neurofibromas), warts, and “barnacles” or the so-called “Rice Krispies” (seborrheic keratoses).Source: iStock

What else could it be?

While classic skin tags are typically very characteristic in appearance and occur in specific locations such as the underarms, necks, under breasts, eyelids and groin folds, there are tags that may occur in less obvious locations.

Other skin growths that may look similar to a skin tag but are not tags include moles (dermal nevus), nerve and fiber-type moles (neurofibromas), warts, and “barnacles” or the so-called “Rice Krispies” (seborrheic keratoses).

Warts tend to have a “warty” irregular surface whereas skin tags are usually smooth. Warts tend to be flat whereas tags are more like bumps hanging from thin stalk. While warts are almost entirely caused by human papilloma virus (HPV), tags are rarely associated with HPV.

Groin and genital skin lesions resembling skin tags may actually be genital warts or condyloma. A biopsy would help diagnose which of these growths are not skin tags. Very rarely, a basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, or malignant melanoma may mimic a skin tag, but this is very uncommon.

Skin tag vs. wart

While warts are caused by a virus called human papillomavirus (HPV) and are known to be very contagious, skin tags are not thought to be caused by HPV.



IMAGES


Skin Tag
See pictures of skin tags and other viral skin diseases
See Images

Skin tags examined under a microscope.

Under the microscope, there is a colored spherical tissue attached to a small stalk.Source: iStock, LWozniak & KWZielinski

What does a skin tag look like under a microscope?

Laboratory preparation of the tissue is required before looking at the skin tag under the microscope. The skin is stained with a stain called hematoxylin and eosin (“H&E”). Under the microscope, there is a colored spherical tissue attached to a small stalk. The purple outer layer (epidermis) overlies a pink core (dermis).

The outer layer of the skin (the epidermis) shows overgrowth of normal skin (hyperplasia), and it encloses an underlying layer of skin (the dermis) in which the normally present collagen fibers appear abnormally loose and swollen. Usually there are no hairs, moles, or other skin structures present in skin tags.

While the majority of skin tags are simply destroyed, sometimes tissue is sent for microscopic exam by a health care specialist known as a pathologist, who will determine the exact diagnosis and determine whether an abnormality such as skin cancer is present. Irregular skin growths that are larger, bleed, or have an unusual presentation may require pathology examination to make sure there are no irregular cells or skin cancers.

Some common skin conditions that can mimic skin tags include seborrheic keratoses, moles, warts, cysts, milia, neurofibromas, and nevus lipomatosus. Rarely, skin cancers like basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and malignant melanoma may mimic skin tags.

Subscribe to MedicineNet’s Skin Care & Conditions Newsletter

By clicking “Submit,” I agree to the MedicineNet Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy. I also agree to receive emails from MedicineNet and I understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet subscriptions at any time.

Skin tags cause no physical harm and are not dangerous.

Sometimes, they may become snagged by clothing, jewelry, pets, or seat belts, causing pain or discomfort.Source: Bigstock

What signs and symptoms do skin tags cause?

Except for the cosmetic appearance, skin tags generally cause no physical pain or discomfort. These tiny skin growths generally cause symptoms when they are repeatedly irritated (for example, by the collar or in the groin). Cosmetic reasons are the most common reason for skin tag removal. The following symptoms and signs may necessitate skin tag removal:

  • it has become irritated and red from bleeding (hemorrhage) or black from twisting, and
  • death of the skin tissue (necrosis).

Sometimes, they may become snagged by clothing, jewelry, pets, or seat belts, causing pain or discomfort. Overall, these are very benign growths that have no cancer (malignant) potential.

Occasionally, a tag may spontaneously fall off without any pain or discomfort. This may occur after the tag has twisted on itself at the stalk base, interrupting the blood flow to the tag.



SLIDESHOW


Rosacea, Acne, Shingles, Covid-19 Rashes: Common Adult Skin Diseases
See Slideshow

Skin tags aren't required to be removed as they are harmless.

Many if not all insurance carriers classify skin tags as cosmetic and therefore a self-pay treatment.Source: Bigstock

From WebMD Logo

Skin Problems and Treatments Resources

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

Skin tags may not need to be biopsied.

Some common skin tag look-alikes include benign lesions such as seborrheic keratoses, common moles, warts, neurofibromas, and a fatty mole called nevus lipomatosis.Source: iStock

What's the difference between warts and skin tags?

While typical skin tags are not usually seen in the vagina or in other moist, mucosal surfaces, there are other types of benign polyps that occur in these areas.Source: Getty Images

Are there vaginal skin tags?

While typical skin tags are not usually seen in the vagina or in other moist, mucosal surfaces, there are other types of benign polyps that occur in these areas. Irritation polyps or soft fibromas may occur on vaginal areas, mouth, and anal skin. Skin tags most commonly occur on dry skin like the neck, armpits, and groin folds. Genital warts, which are growths caused by a sexually transmitted virus HPV, need to be considered in the possible diagnosis for growths in genital areas.

Skin tags may infrequently occur at the external genitalia like the labia majora and labia minora. Again, sexually transmitted viral conditions like genital warts may need to be ruled out by tissue biopsy of growths in this area.

Purple and black skin tags may bleed as part of the healing process.

Skin tags that have changed color or bleed may require your doctor’s evaluation and reassurance.Source: Dr. Nili N. Alai

Medically Reviewed on 2/11/2021

References


American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. “Skin Tags.” .

Manchanda, Yashpal. “Removal of skin tags with Erbium:YAG Laser: A simple, safe, quick, and effective technique requiring no local anesthesia.” Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 79.3: Suppl 1 Sept. 2018: AB244.

National Organization for Rare Disorders. “Birt-Hogg-Dubé Syndrome.” <?https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/birt-hogg-dube-syndrome/>.?

Shah, R., A. Jindal, and N.M. Patel. “Acrochordons as a Cutaneous Sign of Metabolic Syndrome: A Case-Control Study.” Ann Med Health Sci Res 4.2 Mar.-Apr. 2014: 202-205.





Source link