A skin tag is a small piece of hanging skin that is soft and that may have a peduncle or stalk. You can have skin tags anywhere on your body, but you have skin tags, especially where skin rubs against other skin or clothing.
Medically it is known as acrochordon. It’s very common to have skin tags after 50. Both men and Women can have skin tags. Obese are more prone to have it.
In the early stage, skin tags are as small as flattened pinhead-sized bumps. Most of the skin tags are of 2mm-5mm diameter, while some tags are so big like a grape having a diameter of 1cm-5cm.
Medical Name of Skin Tags
In Medical Terms, a skin tag is called a fibroepithelial polyp, acrochordon, cutaneous papilloma, and soft fibroma by the Dermatologist or Physician.
All of these described terms are benign (noncancerous), painless skin growths. Also called as “skin tabs” or warts by some people.
Where can we have Skin Tags?
We can have skin tags anywhere on our bodies covered by skin.
However, the most common area where we can have skin tags are the neck and armpits. Other areas where we can have, are eyelids, upper chest(particularly under the female breasts), buttock folds, and groin folds. Plump Babies can also have skin tags on the area which is rubbed by the other skin or cloth the most, for example, the neck of the skin.
Younger Children can have skin tags on the upper area of their eyelids. Elders and Preteens might be having skin tags in the underarm area from friction and repetitive skin rubbing from sports.
Who has more chances of having Skin Tags?
Although anyone can have skin tags, more often it arises in adulthood and more common in middle age, and tend to increase the chances of having after 60. Skin tags are most common in Overweight People.
Pregnant women tend to have more chances of having Skin tags due to hormonal elevations during Pregnancy and are more often seen in Pregnant Women. Skin tags can be easily removed during or after pregnancy and they are harmless but frequently seen in pregnant women.
Skin Tags seems to occur more commonly in:
- Overweight and Obese
- People having diabetes
- During Pregnancy, possibly due to high levels of growth factors and hormonal changes
- Who have some types of human papillomavirus (HPV)
- If there are changes in levels of estrogen and progesterone
- If any of your close family members also have skin tags
- Those who have high cholesterol levels
- People who have hypertension, or high blood pressure
Will the chances of Skin Tags grow more after removal?
There is no such evidence that removing a skin tag will be a cause of more tags to grow. It has seen that some people are more prone to developing skin tags periodically and they request to remove periodic removal of tags at quarterly or annual intervals.
Can we call a Skin Tag a Tumour?
Skin Tag is a harmless growth or benign tumor. If you don’t go for a treatment of your skin tags and lest untreated then also it doesn’t become cancerous (malignant).
In very rare cases, you will find skin tag as a precancerous or cancerous.
Some skin tags bleed, grow or you will find them in multiple colors like pink, brown, black, or red and they require a biopsy to exclude other causes, including skin cancer.
What else could Skin Tags be?
While classic skin tags look similar to skin tags and occur in specific locations like underarms, necks, under breasts, eyelids, and groin folds.
Other Skin Growth that looks similar to the skin tags but is not skin tags like moles(dermal nevus), nerve and fiber-type moles(neurofibromas), warts, and “barnacles” or the so-called “Rice Krispies” (seborrheic keratoses).
Can any cream be used for Skin Tag removal?
For now, there is no such medically approved cream that can remove skin tags. Skin tags can only be removed by physical methods like cutting off with dental floss.
You should not use unapproved products like Dermasil, wart removers, tea tree oil, nail polish, toothpaste, or hair removal creams like Veet, or Nair to remove skin tags. Use of these unapproved creams may cause you irritation at first and later on you might be having serious complications.
Should you worry about cutting your skin tag by shaving?
Skin tags can be shaved off while removing hair from armpits either with a razor or waxing. There is no harm if you remove skin tags by shaving and you need not worry about that. Due to constantly applied pressure, while removing skin tags by shaving, it bleeds for 10-15 minutes. Skin Infection can be a possible complication if you accidentally shave off your skin tag.
Do all Skin Tags need biopsy?
Small Skin tags can be removed without sending tissue for biopsy(microscopic examination).
However, some larger growths need to be sent to the pathologist for biopsy before removal to make sure that tissue is a skin tag and nothing more. Also, skin bumps that have bled or rapidly changed also need to be sent for biopsy.
Can you have vaginal Skin Tags?
Skin tags are not usually seen in the vagina or the moist, mucosal surfaces, other types of benign polyps occur in these areas.
On Vaginal Areas, Mouth, and Anal Skin, irritation polyps or soft fibromas may occur. Growth of Genital Warts can be caused by a sexually transmitted virus HPV, which need to be considered in the possible diagnosis for growths in genital areas.
You can have skin tags at the external genitalia like the labia majora and labia minora.
Can skin tags occur on the penis and scrotum?
Skin tags can occur at unusual parts like the penis, the opening of the penis tip, scrotum. Tissue Biopsy is required for the Sexually transmitted viral conditions (HPV) like genital in the genital area.
Home Remedies to get rid of Skin Tags
Let’s see all the remedies that you can do at your home so that the skin tag get dry and fall off
1) Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is safe to use on the skin, and it has antiviral and antifungal properties.
Wash the affected area and then gently massage the oil over the skin tag using a Q-tip or cotton swab. After this place a bandage over the area overnight. Do this treatment for several nights until the tag dries and falls off.
2) Banana Peel
The peel of a banana is also very helpful to dry out the tag. Place a peel of banana over your tag and cover it with a bandage and do this for several nights until the tag falls off.
3) Apple Cider Vinegar
Soka a cotton swab in apple cider vinegar and then place this over the tag. Wrap the section for 15-30 minutes with a bandage, and then wash the skin. Do this for a couple of weeks as it will break down the tissue surrounding the skin tag and due to this tag will fall off.
4) Vitamin E
As the chances of skin tags got increased in the middle age so the intake of Vitamin E should be high because Vitamin E is an antioxidant that keeps your skin healthy. Massage the Liquid of Vitamin E over a tag may vanish the tag in a couple of days and do this on a repeat until it falls off.
Inflammation can be reduced with the help of garlic, and the skin appearance can be improved. The best way to get rid of skin tag naturally is to apply crushed garlic over the tag and then cover this with a bandage overnight. Wash the area in the morning and repeat this treatment until it shrinks and disappears.
Treatment by surgery to remove Skin Tags
Skin tags can be removed easily if you go to a dermatologist for the treatment and these following procedures may be used:
- Cauterization: Electrolysis is used to burn skin tags
- Cryosurgery: Probe containing liquid nitrogen is used to freeze off the skin tags
- Ligation: The supply of the blood to the skin tag is interrupted
- Excision: Scalpel is used to cut the skin tags
Above mentioned procedures can only be done by the specialist, skin doctor, or a dermatologist or a similarly trained professional.
If you a skin tag on your eyelid or close to the eyelid then it can be removed by the ophthalmologist or specialist eye doctor.
Small Skin tags can be removed naturally at home but for the big ones, it is advised to go to the specialist only for removal of skin tags.