Skin tags also called Acrochordons are harmless growths on the skin. They are painless and benign. They are connected to the skin by a thin stalk called a peduncle. They are a common occurrence in both men and women, especially after the age of 50. They normally appear on the neck, armpits, eyelids, thighs or groin area. However, they could also appear due to chafing of skin. The skin tags may have a smooth or irregular surface. They are usually skin coloured but may be darker in some cases.
Skin tags consist of collagen and blood vessels surrounded by skin. They occur most commonly in areas where the skin folds. Although there is no definitive cause known for skin tags, friction appears to be a factor. Constant skin to skin friction or skin to clothing friction may cause skin tags.
Other conditions like genetics, diabetes, obesity and pregnancy are also known to cause skin tags in some cases.
Although skin tags are harmless they may resemble other skin conditions like warts and moles which are more serious conditions. Warts are contagious and some moles may be cancerous. Hence, it is advisable to consult a dermatologist for a proper diagnosis. A visual inspection or a biopsy could be performed for a thorough diagnosis.
Skin tags, generally do not require treatment. However one may consider it for cosmetic reasons. There are a few options to consider.
- Surgery – The dermatologist may remove a skin tag using scissors or a scalpel.
- Ligation – A surgical thread is used to tie off a skin tag in order to cut off blood circulation.
- Freezing – The skin tag is frozen with liquid nitrogen
Alternatively, there are a few natural remedies like using lemon juice, tea tree oil etc. However, one must refrain from self help remedies like chemical peels or tying them off with a string as they may lead to burns or bleeding which could lead to infection.