Skin tags are benign flaps of skin. They are protruding growths of the skin and are attached to the skin by a thin skin stalk or a small peduncle. Skin tags are also called cutaneous skin tags or Acrochoedons. Skin tags are usually flesh colored. Some skin tags can have darker pigmentation. The size of the skin tags is usually not more than 5 mm.
Although occurrence of skin tags is more common in people of older age, they can occur in all individuals, and at any age. They are formed over any region in the body, but their appearance is more common under groins, armpits and on face. Skin tags are also common on eyelids, chest and neck. Skin tags do not produce any symptoms and are harmless. However, some tags can be very irritating if they rub against other parts of the body or against clothes. Most of the people desire to undergo treatment for skin tags for cosmetic reasons. Although it does not cause any medical symptoms, it can be a concern for patients from a cosmetic point of view. They can make people feel conscious about their appearance, especially if the skin tags are larger in size and are located at parts that are visible and prominent. Skin tags on face can be very embarrassing for patients and can also lead to social withdrawal. It can have negative impact on the emotional well being of a person.
The exact cause of formation of skin tags is not known. However, some theories have attempted to find the cause of skin tags. Many theories have pointed out that skin tags occur due to genetic reasons. It has also been observed that the occurrence of skin tags is more common among overweight people. Hence, obesity has been regarded as one of the causative factors for skin tags. Role of hormones in formation of skin tags is also important. Some hormones can be responsible for skin tags. Especially hormones activated during pregnancy are suspected to be responsible for it. Fluctuation in the level of different hormones in pregnancy can cause skin tags.
Regardless of the cause of skin tags, they can be completely benign and do not produce any complications. Even though these skin tags do not produce any pain, discomfort or any other symptoms, several patients opt for different types of treatment for removal the skin tags. It is up to the patients to decide whether he or she wants to take treatment for it or they can accept the skin tags and continue to live with it. .
Several options are available for patients who want to get the skin tags removed. Surgical removal of tags is the option preferred by many. Though the cost involved in surgical removal of skin tags is high compared to other modes of treatment, it can give instant results. Also, the procedure can be performed at any place. There is no need of an operation theater or large facilities for performing this procedure. Surgical removal of skin tags is a simple procedure. It can be done by the doctor or by the patient himself. In this, the base of the skin tags is tied with a string or dental floss. This causes occlusion of blood vessels, resulting in lack of blood supply to the part. Later, the tag is clipped off with scissors. Patients can also freeze off the tags with the help of liquid nitrogen. Occlusion of blood vessels before cutting off or freezing the tags eliminates chances of bleeding after the procedure. The results of the procedure are immediate. Patients may just suffer from mild pain after the therapy, which lasts for few hours.
Some home remedies can also be helpful for removal of skin tags. Patients can also opt for laser cosmetic surgery for removal of skin tags. Laser beams targeted at the skin tags help in destroying them. In this procedure also, the results are seen immediately after the procedure and patient suffers from mild pain after the therapy.
Treatment of skin tags is much easier than the patients may think. However, taking a decision to get the skin tags removed or not, itself is a big question. Patients should know that skin tags will not be harmful for their medical health and all they can cause is a bit of irritation, that too, if they rub against other parts of the body or clothes. Hence, treatment of it is advised only if they are irritating or are cosmetically disapproving. Patients can check through various treatment options available for skin tags before making a decision.