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Skin Tags

Skin Tags, or Acrochordons, appear as small pieces of soft, fleshy growths or flaps protruding or hanging from your skin. According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, approximately 46% of people have skin tags and they are especially common after the age of 50. Around 59% of people have skin tags by the time they are 70 years old.

What Causes Skin Tags?

Although they can appear anywhere on the body, and on both men and women, skin tags usually occur in sites of friction, particularly the underarms, neck, and groin areas as it’s believed that irritation of skin on skin or clothing rubbing on the skin may cause them. They are also believed to be genetic and are more common in those who are obese or overweight, have diabetes and women who are pregnant.

Skin Tag Treatment

Skin tags are benign and pose no harm but may be treated for cosmetic purposes or if bothersome. For some patients, these tags can become red and irritated when caught on jewelry, rubbed by clothing or when shaving.

If skin tags are getting in your way, seek treatment from a trained Dermatologist and do not attempt to remove them yourself. A Dermatologist or Plastic Surgeon can apply a topical numbing agent and snip them off or freeze with liquid nitrogen. Generally, you won’t need any anesthesia, but if you have a larger skin tag, local anesthesia, such as a topical anesthesia cream applied in the office may be applied.

You should always seek a formal diagnosis of skin tags from a trained medical professional, especially if you have any doubt or concern. A proper diagnosis will help to rule out other skin conditions or skin cancers.

Advanced Specialty Care’s Dermatologists frequently treat and remove skin tags. We welcome you to make a dermatology appointment in any one of our four convenient Connecticut offices in DanburyNorwalkRidgefield or Stamford.

Frequently Asked Questions

Please do not try to remove your skin tags at home! The products sold in some stores do nothing at all or are strong skin irritants that will only make your skin tag inflamed. Your cuticle scissors are not as sharp as surgical scissors and will only squeeze and hurt as tags are fibrous. The old fashioned method of trying to strangle a tag with a tight thread most often leads to a swollen sore tag and not its removal. Our removal methods are fast and not very painful so let us do the surgery!
Skin tags can be removed in a variety of ways. Sometimes this is done for cosmetic purposes and sometimes it is done because a tag is getting irritated by friction, clothing, or jewelry and may have even torn or thrombosed (cut off its blood supply by twisting). They can be cut off close to the skin with sharp surgical scissors, which leads to some bleeding but it can be seen immediately if they are completely removed. They can be frozen with liquid nitrogen, causing frostbite and they then fall off in 10-14 days. They can also be gently stretched and the “stem” destroyed with an brief electric current; there is no bleeding with this technique and the tiny burnt spot heals in 4-7 days. Cosmetic removal of skin tags is not covered by medical insurance so you should discuss with your medical provider what the fee will be for the service. If the tag is symptomatic the removal may be covered as a medical problem.
About 50% of adults have at least one skin tag. Most people who have them have only a few. Their appearance increases with advancing age and are more common in overweight people than in those whose skin does not rub together as much. They are not inherited, but there can be a family trend towards having multiple skin tags rather than a few. Pregnancy often makes a tag or two appear or an existing skin tag get larger. Despite earlier information, we now know that there is NO association of skin tags with tags in the colon or with diabetes.
It is not really understood why skin tags appear on some people and not others.
Skin tags are benign fleshy papules, often on a thinner stalk, that appear commonly on the neck, armpits, and groin. They appear less commonly on other areas of the body as well. They are the most common fibrous skin growth. The tags themselves are asymptomatic, but they sometimes become irritated by friction, clothing, or jewelry, and become painful. Many people also do not like their cosmetic appearance.