WHAT ARE SKIN TAGS?
Skin tags are completely benign skin growths that often due to their location, become a cosmetic concern. Skin tags can appear anywhere on the body but are most commonly found on areas such as the eyelids, upper chest, back, groin, neck and arm pits. They are often single and numerous although may cluster together to form larger tags. Skin tags are typically small (1mm to 5mm in diameter) but can grow as large as 5 centimeters in diameter. They are not contagious and there is no evidence that they can be transmitted from person to person through any form of contact.
WHO GETS SKIN TAGS?
Both men and women at any age are equally at risk of developing a skin tag, however development is most common in adults ages 35 to 60 years old. Though unusual, skin tags can even appear on toddlers and children of any age under their arms and neck.
WHAT CAUSES SKIN TAGS?
While the exact cause of skin tags is unknown, many physicians believe they occur as a result of skin rubbing against skin creating friction (ex. Arm pits and groin). Other researchers believe them to be due to trapped collagen and blood vessels within thicker pores of the skin.
SHOULD I TRY TO REMOVE SKIN TAGS BY MYSELF?
Removing skin tags on your own can be quite uncomfortable, especially if the tag is large. Skin tags have blood vessels attached to them thereby making the area prone to infection if not removed properly. Removing them without local anesthesia can also be quite painful. Lastly, skin tags can bleed and depending on the size of the tag, bleeding may be impressive.
HOW ARE SKIN TAGS REMOVED?
There are many ways in which a skin tag can be removed but the most common include:
- Cryotherapy (freezing) the tag
- Cautery (burning) the tag
- Excision (cutting) the tag with scalpel or scissors