Skin Tags & Growths

What is it?

Skin tags and growths are small, generally benign growths. Cutaneous skin tags are common and often occur as tiny skin protrusions, often having a narrow skin stalk connecting it to the skin’s surface. The condition is usually painless. Skin tags can grow and change, and present a bothersome irritation upon rubbing and other friction. They typically occur in characteristic locations including the neck, underarms, eyelids, and under the breasts (especially where underwire bras rub directly beneath the breasts). Although skin tags may vary somewhat in appearance, they are usually smooth or slightly wrinkled and irregular, flesh-colored or slightly more brown, and hang from the skin by a small stalk. Early or beginning skin tags may be as small as a flattened pinpoint-sized bump around the neck. Some skin tags may be as large as a big grape.

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What are the causes skin tags?

Most skin tags and growths might be present at birth or develop later in life due to prolonged sun exposure and other conditions. Although there are no known causes for the appearance and formation of skin tags and growths, they most often occur in high friction areas where the skin is rubbed with clothes or other body parts. They are much more common in middle age and they tend to increase in prevalence up to age 60. Children and toddlers may also develop skin tags in the underarm and neck areas. Since they are thought to arise more readily in areas of skin friction or rubbing, tags are also more common in overweight people.

How can it be prevented?

There is no known way of preventing skin tags. It is important to consult one of our physicians to determine that the growth is harmless.

What are the treatments?

Skin tags and growths can be safely removed by a simple excision, depending on their size and diameter. They can also be removed by electrodesication or cryotherapy which involves freezing the lesion with liquid nitrogen. Another treatment alternative is laser therapy. By absorbing the laser light, the skin tag or growth is destroyed at the treatment site or soon after treatment.