What is a Skin Tag?
Skin tags are a common skin growth that look like small "tags" of hanging skin. They are benign and harmless, and can vary in number from several to a hundred. In addition, skin tags can range in size, appearing as a small pinhead sized bump, to a larger size that can look like a pencil eraser. Skin tags tend to form with age, but obesity is also associated with the development of skin tags. They are usually flesh colored and can develop on the face, neck, eyelid, under the arms or breasts, or other areas of the upper body. Most skin tags do not need treatment, but if they are large enough or if a great number of them exist, some patients desire to have them removed. Our Austin, TX dermatology practice offers skin tag assessment and if necessary, removal for patients wanting cosmetic improvement.
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What Causes Skin Tags?
Skin tags are so common, that it is reported that more than half of the general population has at least one. In most cases, they develop after birth and are most common in middle age, with the highest prevalence in older adults. As mentioned above, obesity has been known to be a cause of certain skin tags. In addition, hormone elevations during pregnancy can also cause an increase in the formation of skin tags. Adults with thyroid disease, diabetes or other conditions may also be prone to getting skin tags. In adults, it is most common for skin tags to appear on the neck, while in children, they can appear in the underarm or eyelid.
How to Treat Skin Tags
Skin tags often do not need or require treatment. However, larger ones can easily be removed with surface layer surgical excision. Skin tags, if removed, can develop again, but they may or may not grow back in the same place, if at all. Skin tags do not spread, but instead, appear randomly and sporadically. Certain laser treatments can also be used for smaller skin tags to help smoothen and even the skin, especially where groups of these tags reside. Other tag removal options include:
- Using liquid nitrogen to freeze the tag so that it naturally falls off
- Using electrodesiccation or electrocautery to burn the tag
- Using surgical scissors with anesthetic
Many individuals desire and request periodic tag removal at annual or quarterly intervals to keep the skin clear of them. In most adults, skin tags are removed for cosmetic purposes. They tend to be annoying and bothersome, getting caught in jewelry and snagged by clothing, which can cause irritation, redness, and sometimes bleeding.
Plan Your Procedure
- 15 minutes
Schedule a Consult Today!
If you have skin tags that you feel are a bother or simply cosmetically unappealing, our dermatologists can help assess and remove them. We invite you to call our Austin, TX dermatology office and schedule your appointment. In many cases, our patients have lived with this skin condition for a long time, and finally decide to get treatment. There are many options for skin tag removal that we can discuss, and from there put together a customized treatment plan depending on the number of tags you have for removal.