What is a skin tag?
A skin tag is a common, benign condition which consists of a bit of skin that projects from the surrounding skin and may appear attached to the skin. Skin tags can vary quite a bit in appearance. They may be smooth or irregular, flesh colored or more deeply pigmented, and either simply be raised above the surrounding skin or have a stalk (a peduncle) so that the skin tag hangs from the skin.
Where do skin tags occur?
Skin tags can occur almost anywhere there is skin. However, favorite areas for tags are the eyelids, neck, armpits (axillae), upper chest, and groin.
Who tends to get skin tags?
They are much more common with age beginning in middle age and they tend to be somewhat more prevalent in women than men.
Is a skin tag a tumor?
Yes, it is in the sense that it is a growth. However, it is a benign (harmless and not a malignant) condition.
What does a skin tag look like under a microscope?
The outer layer of the skin (the epidermis) shows overgrowth (hyperplasia) and it encloses an underlying layer of skin (the dermis) in which the normally-present collagen fibers appear abnormally loose and swollen.
What problems do skin tags cause?
Usually none. This tiny skin growth generally causes no symptoms unless it is repeatedly irritated as, for example, by the collar or in the crotch.
How are skin tags treated?
In cases in which a skin tag is irritated or cosmetically unwanted, treatment may be done by freezing the tag with liquid nitrogen, tying off the tag with a thread or suture so as to cut off the blood supply, or cutting off (excising) the tag with a scalpel or scissors.
Is there another medical name for a skin tag?
A skin tag is medically also termed a cutaneous papilloma or an acrochordon. However, a skin tag is best known as a skin tag.