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The Skin Tag Guide: What It Is & How To Treat It

shoulderWhat is a skin tag?

A skin tag is a small tag of skin that could have a stalk (peduncle). It resembles a tiny piece of hanging skin. Skin tags are able to form on any part of the skin. However, they are usually found on areas of skin that are frequently rubbing against other areas of skin. These areas can include:

– Neck
– Upper chest
– Groin
– Under the breasts
– Armpits
– Eyelids

Skin tags are made up of fat cells, nerve cells, a core of ducts and fibers and an epidermis or covering. They are usually non-cancerous and benign. They are tumors of the skin that do not cause any symptoms. However, an irritation may occur if the skin tag is constantly scratched or rubbed, as is known to happen because of shaving, jewelry or clothing. Tags that are large have been known to burst when they are under pressure.

Certain individuals are more prone to getting skin tags than others. This can be due to heredity, obesity or for other unknown reasons. Women that are pregnant and diabetes sufferers are prone to get skin tags. According to dermatologists, skin tags are equally common in men and women. In most cases, they do not fall off on their own.

What are the causes of skin tags?
Skin tags are common and usually appear after the mid point in a person’s life. It is believed that they are caused by groups of blood vessels and collagen being trapped in areas of skin that are thick. Skin rubbing against skin is a common cause. This is the reason that they are frequently found in the folds and creases of skin.

Risk Factors
These are things that increase the chances of a person eventually developing skin tags. Some of the risk factors are:

– Human papilloma virus
– Diabetes
– Pregnant women
– Obesity: Overweight people have more creases and folds in their skin.
– Using illegal steroids: These can interfere with the muscles and body, resulting in the bonding of the skin’s collagen fibers, causing the formation of skin tags.

Skin Tag Treatment Options
Because skin tags are normally harmless, they are often removed only for cosmetic or aesthetic reasons. Larger skin tags, particularly in areas where friction against skin, jewelry or clothing occurs, are removed to prevent future irritation to the area. Facial and under arm skin tags are often removed so that the act of shaving is made easier.

Here are some common procedures that are used for the removal of skin tags:

– Excision: A scalpel is used to cut out and remove the skin tag.
– Ligation: The skin tag’s supply of blood is closed off.
– Cryosurgery: Liquid Nitrogen is used to freeze off the skin tag.
– Cauterization: Electrolysis is used to burn off the skin tag.

Dermatologists are the only people who should attempt to perform any of these procedures. However, if a person has a skin tag that is in close proximity to the eyelid margin, an eye specialist doctor known as an ophthalmologist may need to perform the procedure.

Over-the-counter Treatments
There are solutions that can be purchased at pharmacies that will cause the skin tag to freeze and fall off.

It is important to remember that while skin tags can be unsightly, they will probably never develop into cancer. If they are not bothering you, there is no need to remove them for health reasons, unless you are told to by a doctor. You should only consider removal if they become irritated or if it is affecting your appearance.

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Comments (2)

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  1. Kristine says:

    Thanks for the informative article,

    I have 4 skin tags at the back of my neck and was wandering about buying the over the counter skin tag remover like you mention above.

    Not sure how effective they are but maybe I’ll give it a try?

  2. Harvey Lee says:

    Great Article! It is easy to remove skin tags by dental floss or thread. Clean skin tag with some isopropyl alcohol using a cotton ball. Use dental floss or thread to tie it securely. Make sure that it’s tight enough so that it cuts off the blood circulation, but not too tight that it cuts the skin. Skin tag turned black and fall off in a couple of days.

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