Skin tags, medically known as acrochordons, are small, soft, benign growths that typically appear on the neck, armpits, eyelids, groin, or under the breasts. They are often the same color as the surrounding skin, but can also be slightly darker. Skin tags are usually painless, but may become irritated or uncomfortable if they rub against clothing or jewelry. They are very common and can occur in people of all ages, but are more likely to develop as people age.
Prevalence and risk factors
Skin tags are very common, affecting about 25% of the population. They are more likely to occur in people who are overweight or obese, have diabetes, or are pregnant. They also tend to run in families, so there may be a genetic component to their development. Hormonal changes, such as those that occur during pregnancy or with the use of certain medications, may also increase the risk of developing skin tags.
Importance of skin tag management
While skin tags are generally harmless and do not require treatment, they can be unsightly or bothersome to some people. Treatment options for skin tags include removal through freezing, cutting, or burning. It is important to have skin tags evaluated by a healthcare provider to ensure that they are not cancerous or potentially dangerous growths. Additionally, if a skin tag becomes painful, bleeds, or changes in appearance, it should be evaluated by a healthcare provider as soon as possible.
Causes of Skin Tags
Skin tags can be caused by a variety of factors such as;
Genetics and family history: Genetics and family history may play a role, as individuals with family members who have skin tags may be more likely to develop them.
Age and hormonal changes: can also lead to the development of skin tags, as the skin becomes looser and more prone to growths with age.
Obesity and diabetes: are also risk factors for skin tags, as excess weight and high blood sugar levels can cause skin irritation and inflammation.
Friction and irritation: can contribute to the development of skin tags, as rubbing and chafing can cause small growths to form on the skin.
Diagnosis of Skin Tags
Visual examination: Skin tags are usually diagnosed by visual examination. A medical professional will look for small, soft, skin-colored growths that are attached to the skin by a thin stalk.
Differential diagnosis: involves ruling out other conditions that may look similar to skin tags, such as warts, moles, and other types of skin growths.
Biopsy: In some cases, a biopsy may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis. A small piece of the skin tag may be removed and examined under a microscope to check for any abnormal cells or signs of cancer. This is usually only done if there is uncertainty about the diagnosis or if the skin tag appears unusual or is changing in appearance.
Management of Skin Tags
- Observation and reassurance
- Home remedies and over-the-counter treatments
- Medical procedures
The first method is observation and reassurance, where patients are advised to monitor the growths for any changes and given reassurance that they are not dangerous. Home remedies and over-the-counter treatments, such as tea tree oil or apple cider vinegar, are also mentioned as possible options. These medications can be gotten from top rated online pharmacy
If these methods do not work, medical procedures can be considered. These include cryotherapy (freezing the growth with liquid nitrogen), electrosurgery (burning the growth off with an electric current), excision (cutting the growth off with a scalpel), ligation (tying the growth off with a string to cut off its blood supply), laser therapy (using a laser to destroy the growth), and topical treatments (such as applying acids or other chemicals).
Complications and side effects of these procedures include scarring, infection, and bleeding. Follow-up care and prevention of recurrence are important for patients who have undergone these procedures.
Prevention of Skin Tags
- Lifestyle modifications: such as maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding tight clothing, and keeping the skin dry and clean.
- Personal hygiene and care: such as using mild soap and avoiding harsh chemicals, can also be helpful.
- Regular skin checks and evaluations
- Medical management of underlying conditions: such as diabetes or hormonal imbalances, can help prevent the formation of skin tags.