Skin tags refer to harmless growth on the skin, which is usually of the small color as the skin. These tissue pieces are made up of collagen and blood vessels and are sometimes also known as cutaneous tags. While many patients are not bothered by these, some people find them cosmetically displeasing and irritating. There are various methods to remove them and some of them are:
- Cryotherapy (Skin tags are frozen off)
- Excision (Skin tags are cut out)
- Cauterization (Skin tags are burnt off)
- Ligation (Blood supply to tags is interrupted)
Skin tags are pinhead size or small bumps; however, they can become as large as a bump. These tags can develop at any part of the body, but are most commonly grown in areas where there is increased friction, for example:
Males, as well as females, are prone to this disease. However, people who are old or pregnant women are expected to develop skin tags easily.
Why Does Skin Tags Occur?
While no specific reason has been found yet, it is believed that skin tags are developed due to friction. Most of the growth of skin tags is found where the skin rubs constantly against the clothing or where there is maximum skin to skin contact.
There are various factors that contribute to the creation of skin tags, but the most commonly seen factors are:
- Changes in the level of hormones during pregnancy
- Insulin resistance often found in people suffering from diabetes
- Presence of human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Sex steroid imbalance
Skin tags are very rarely associated with:
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome
A causal genetic component is also associated with skin tags and it is common for people whose close family also suffers from skin tags.
How to Differentiate Between Other Skin Growth and Skin Tags?
The dermatologist will help you confirm the occurrence of skin tags and will also educate you on other skin growth. If you have a growth that is too close to your eye, you should visit an ophthalmologist to get it treated.
There are chances that sometimes the skin tags may actually look like moles or other types of harmless growth. In certain cases, the doctor may also ask you to undergo a biopsy to check whether the growth is cancerous or not. During the biopsy, the doctor will be able to remove any abnormal growth or the skin tags and send them for analysis. You can follow up the discussions with your doctor.
Risk Associated with the Removal of Skin Tags
Removal of the skin tags is a low-risk procedure, but they bleed when removed. Sometimes, coagulation with silver nitrate becomes a necessity to stop the bleeding. In rare cases, the patient may also develop an infection or experience heavy bleeding after the surgery is performed.
If you feel that skin tags are cosmetically displeasing, there are different ways through which will help remove them. The tags can be removed with surgical scissors or can be made to fall off by tying it with a dental floss. While anesthesia is not required, the doctor may use local anesthesia to help you avoid pain.
Never try to remove skin tags without medical professional supervision. Without sterilized environment and a doctor, there are high chances that you will catch an infection or have excessive bleeding.