What is a Skin Tag?
They are small outgrowths of skin that are higher than the skin level and do not cause any discomfort, except for their non-aesthetic appearance. They are usually seen in areas where the skin is thinner, such as eyelids, genitals, under breast, or neck. These small pieces that are attached to the skin by a thin or thick stem, which is called peduncle. Skin tags are mostly the same color with the skin. Their diameters can range from 2 millimeters to 1 centimeter, and some can reach up to 5 centimeters in size. They are more common after the age of thirties, and may increase from the age of fifties. Incidence is equal for men and women. They are not contagious.
What causes skin tags?
Though it is not clear why skin tags form, the factors thought to increase their formation are as follows:
- Genetic predisposition
- Hormonal causes
- Rapid weight changes
- Cosmetic products
- Skin rubbing
- Weakening of the immune system
Can a skin tag fall off itself?
Sometimes those with thin peduncles may fall off spontaneously or with strong contact. They do not cause problems unless they are infected after the rupture. Trying to pick off or to cut is dangerous because of the risk of it turning into malignant lesions or because infection may develop.
How are the skin tags treated?
- Burning by electrocautery
- Laser beam burning
- Freezing off by cryotherapy
Laser application is the most preferred method in the treatment of skin tags. The advantages of this treatment are that it does not require anesthesia, the desired result can be achieved in maximum 2 sessions, and there is no risk of scarring. Immediately after the process, the person can return to his/her daily life. It is more convenient to remove large skin tags by surgical methods. Suspected skin tags are recommended to be submitted to pathologic examination following the surgical removal.