Skin Tags

Skin tags

Last Updated July 29th, 2019

There is no one specific cause for skin tags to arise. These may occur as a result of hormonal elevation (during pregnancy), obesity, and diabetes. The most common areas of skin tags occurrence are underarms, groin, neck, under the breasts, and eyelids. These rarely cause any medical complications. But these may lead to cosmetic concerns if they occur anywhere on the face. Depending on the need and severity, a person may opt to get skin tags removed.
There are two ways to go about it – you can either opt for cosmetic procedures for skin tag removal or look into few chosen home remedies. The following are the common cosmetic procedures used by dermatologists to remove skin tags. Cryotherapy or use of liquid nitrogen to freeze and remove the skin tag. Electrosurgery where the skin tag is heated and removed (to avoid excessive bleeding). Ligation process where the blood supply to the skin tag is cut off so that it dies and falls off. Surgical removal of the skin tag by the help of scalpel and scissors.
• Apple cider vinegar – Soak a cotton swab in the vinegar, keep it on the skin tag, cover and tie this for 15-30 minutes, and then wash it. In a few weeks, you might observe the skin tag may get gradually removed. Garlic – This works best in case an aging skin is a reason for skin tag formation. Crush 1-2 cloves of garlic, apply it over the skin tag, keep it covered and tied overnight, and wash it off the next morning. The compounds in garlic can help in shrinking these tags.
Regularly massaging vitamin E oil/liquid on the skin tags may help in reducing the size of the skin tag. This is because vitamin E naturally fights aging and may help remove signs of aging such as skin tags and wrinkles.
Yes, this can be used in the same way as apple cider vinegar. Use a tea tree oil soaked cotton swab and bandage it on the skin tag. This should be kept covered overnight and washed off the next day
Yes. Natural home remedies for skin tags work by slowing breaking down the tissues surrounding the skin tag. Over the course of the remedy, it falls off the skin would causing any lesion or tears along the skin.

Overview of skin tags

Aging is associated with several skin ailments which are in many cases benign. The most common among these are warts, moles, freckles and skin tags. Skin tags are a very common occurrence in aged people and are more prevalent in elderly men, especially the ones above 65. These tags are normally formed as portions of the existing skin and do not cause any harmful effects. At present, there is a lot of controversy regarding whether skin tags are indicators of skin cancer or not. But in most cases, they have been found to be completely benign and do not interfere with healthy living. Numerous techniques for removal of skin tags are recommended by dermatologists. But the effectiveness of such techniques has not been verified in several cases.

What are skin tags?

Skin tags womanSkin tags medically termed as “acrochordons” are benign outgrowths of the skin that are found in elderly people and are often mistaken for moles or other skin outgrowths. They are usually manifested as soft, pedunculated (comprising of an elongated stalk of tissue), brownish or flesh-colored skin tumor (benign) that hang from the eyelids, neck or the armpit. Extensive research has revealed that these tags are closely linked to Diabetes, Insulin resistance, senility or obesity or few metabolic syndromes. These are essentially normal outgrowths of the skin and may be pigmented or non-pigmented. They appear to be loosely attached to the skin surface by a narrow stalk. A skin tag typically varies from 1 to 5 mm in length. But in a few cases, it might be larger in size.

Recent studies have revealed that skin tag forms on those parts of the body that are subjected to frequent friction such as armpits, the inner portion of thighs, eyelids, breasts etc. In numerous cases, the skin tag detaches and falls off from the skin surface due to lack of blood supply (due to irritation caused by rough clothing, jewelry etc). Skin tags are not indicators of diseases or associated complications. In some instances, skin tags have also been observed in young people.

What causes skin tags?

A skin tag may or may not arise due to specific etiological factors. Research findings have revealed that the following factors may increase possibilities of skin tags in aged people or even in young adults-

  • Degeneration of skin cells due to aging
  • Irritation and frequent friction in few parts of the skin (such as underarms, thighs, breasts and in some cases the genitals)
  • Hormonal fluctuations especially elevated estrogen and progesterone level during pregnancy or increased growth hormone (somatotropin) in few medical conditions such as Acromegaly.
  • Epidermal growth factor and alpha tissue growth factor
  • Obesity
  • Human papillomavirus infection
  • Autosomal dominant disorders such as Birt-Hugg-Dube syndrome, that are manifested as benign tumor outgrowths of hair follicles such as in fibrofolliculoma or trichodiscoma conditions
  • Existing tumors of the gastrointestinal tract and kidneys which cause the release of skin factors that lead to skin outgrowths and skin tags
  • Type 2 Diabetes mellitus
  • Reduced glucose tolerance and insulin resistance
  • A family history of skin tags
  • Abnormalities in carbohydrate and lipid metabolism
  • Enzymatic dysfunctions
  • High blood pressure and hypertension
  • Overactivation of the mast cells and tumor necrosis factor
  • Abnormally high levels of cholesterol (LDL cholesterol)

Symptoms of skin tags

Skin tagsSkin tags are basically benign tumors made up of fibrous connective tissues. They are usually manifested through the following symptoms-

  • Formation of tiny to large elevated lumps on the skin, usually with a pointed tip
  • Size of lumps may vary from 1-2 mm on the eyelids to 1-2 cm on the trunk
  • Colour of lumps may vary from pinkish white to brownish black
  • Presence of pigmentation in a few cases
  • The stalk-like appearance of the lumps that hand very loosely from the skin surface
  • The surface of the papules or lumps are rough
  • Occasional bleeding from the papules on scratching
  • Itching and irritation of the papules
  • Occasional hair growth on or around the papules
  • Presence of clotted blood in a few cases, which are visible as black dots on the lumps
  • The stalk-shaped lumps can be moved back and forth with the finger
  • Lumps may get detached from the skin surface on being irritated or rubbed
  • Formation of lumps at the same site after old papules fall off

Types of skin tags

According to the size and growth pattern and also the region of growth, skin tag may be classified into the following categories-

  • Furrowed papules: They are the small papules mainly present on the neck and armpit (axilla) and are usually 1-2 mm in diameter and length.
  • Filiform lesions: They may be present singly or in groups and can occur at parts of the body other than the ones mentioned above. They vary from 2 mm in width to 5 mm in length.
  • A pedunculated tumor: They are usually larger in size and are usually manifested as nevoid and tender fibromas (made of connective tissues). These types of skin tags are normally found in the lower portion of the trunk.

Some other varieties of skin tags are also discussed here-

  • Lymphedematous: They are usually present on the male genitals.
  • Vulvovaginal: They normally arise due to itching or irritation caused by clothing or jewelry.
  • Perianal pyramidal: These are particular forms of infantile protrusions and are usually found in the anterior portion of the anus, along with the midline.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of skin tags may be carried out in few cases if abnormalities like bleeding from skin tags or progressive enlargement of papules are observed. Biopsy of tumors may be recommended in such cases to rule out possibilities of cancer. Blood tests can be carried out to detect the physiological causes of skin tags like Diabetes or hormonal disorders.

Treatment and prevention

Skin tags removalTreatment 

  • Surgery – Surgery is done to remove the skin tags, which are present on the eyelid(s) or eyelid margin. An ophthalmologist will be needed to conduct the surgery. While the skin tags that are present in other areas can be operated on by a dermatologist or a skin specialist.
  • Over-the-counter medication – These medications are similar to the ones that are used to treat warts. These medications will freeze the skin tag and treat them within 7-10 days.

Prevention

  • Consume a healthy diet that is high in fiber and whole grains.
  • Avoid wearing tight clothes.
  • Use powder to avoid friction.
  • Maintain a healthy BMI since obesity is one of the key risk factors for getting skin tags.

Facts

  • Skin tags are non-cancerous overlaps of outer skin and inner skin.
  • Skin tags do not shrink on their own and need to be removed surgically.

Facts

  • Skin tags are common in those who are in their 2nd or 3rd trimester of pregnancy, obese individuals, type 2 diabetics, and individuals above the age of 50.
  • Skin tags do not need to be removed unless they cause irritation.

Facts

  • They occur in skin folds. Skin tags can form over the eyelids, on the neck, in the armpit, and in groin folds. They are caused due to friction.
  • Skin tags are not the same as moles.

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There is no one specific cause for skin tags to arise. These may occur as a result of hormonal elevation (during pregnancy), obesity, and diabetes. The most common areas of skin tags occurrence are underarms, groin, neck, under the breasts, and eyelids. These rarely cause any medical complications. But these may lead to cosmetic concerns if they occur anywhere on the face. Depending on the need and severity, a person may opt to get skin tags removed.
There are two ways to go about it – you can either opt for cosmetic procedures for skin tag removal or look into few chosen home remedies. The following are the common cosmetic procedures used by dermatologists to remove skin tags. Cryotherapy or use of liquid nitrogen to freeze and remove the skin tag. Electrosurgery where the skin tag is heated and removed (to avoid excessive bleeding). Ligation process where the blood supply to the skin tag is cut off so that it dies and falls off. Surgical removal of the skin tag by the help of scalpel and scissors.
• Apple cider vinegar – Soak a cotton swab in the vinegar, keep it on the skin tag, cover and tie this for 15-30 minutes, and then wash it. In a few weeks, you might observe the skin tag may get gradually removed. Garlic – This works best in case an aging skin is a reason for skin tag formation. Crush 1-2 cloves of garlic, apply it over the skin tag, keep it covered and tied overnight, and wash it off the next morning. The compounds in garlic can help in shrinking these tags.
Regularly massaging vitamin E oil/liquid on the skin tags may help in reducing the size of the skin tag. This is because vitamin E naturally fights aging and may help remove signs of aging such as skin tags and wrinkles.
Yes, this can be used in the same way as apple cider vinegar. Use a tea tree oil soaked cotton swab and bandage it on the skin tag. This should be kept covered overnight and washed off the next day
Yes. Natural home remedies for skin tags work by slowing breaking down the tissues surrounding the skin tag. Over the course of the remedy, it falls off the skin would causing any lesion or tears along the skin.

 

Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • Remove the skin tags on the eyelids early. They can grow in size and put strain over your eyes.
  • Identify the area of your skin tag if you wish to get it removed.
  • Eat foods that are low in saturated fats. Also, consume a low-carb diet.
Don'ts
  • Rush into getting your skin tags removed; removal is only required if your skin tags cause any irritation or if they get injured and pain consistently.
  • Pull out a large skin tag by yourself, as it can lead to excessive bleeding and infections.
  • Cut off skin tags, it can lead to bleeding and infections.

 

 

 

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FBS Test – Fasting Blood Sugar FBS or fasting blood sugar test is a blood test that is used to determine the level of…
CT-scan-machine
CT – Computed Tomography Scan CT scan or computed tomography scan is an diagnostic imaging technique where cross-sectional images of body are obtained…
ketoacidosis diabetes
HB1Ac Test HB1Ac test is an important blood test that is used to measure the levels of glycated hemoglobin in…
glucose-tolerance
Oral Glucose Tolerance Test – GTT Glucose tolerance test (or Oral GTT) is used to detect the onset of diabetes or prediabetes conditions. It…
colposcopy
Colposcopy Colposcopy is a simple, quick and non- invasive diagnostic tool to look closely inside the vulva, vagina, and…
ureteroscopy
Ureteroscopy Ureteroscopy is the diagnostic procedure which is used for the detection of the kidney stones in addition to…
Jack in the box fast food
Jack In the Box : The perils of surging fast food culture in the USA Jack in the Box - How a culture of fast-food can clog your arteries, weaken your heart, fatten…
aspartame or sugar
Aspartame – Hidden truths about this storm in a teacup Aspartame, the artificial sweetener, has gone under the scanner on several occasions for allegedly doing more harm than…
nutritional yeast bread
Nutritional Yeast : How can a fungi culture be good for your body? Nutritional yeast: How a simple culture of fungi can transform your skin, digestion, immunity , and much more.…
dandelion health benefits
Dandelion: Little parachutes of health and wellness for your whole body Dandelions are not just bright looking blossoms that cheer your mind. These are powerpacked with essential nutrients that…