Although common, most skin lesions are benign. These lesions include moles, freckles, skin tags, benign lentigines, and seborrheic keratoses. A skin tag is also known as a acrochordon, cutaneous papilloma, cutaneous tag, fibroepithelial polyp, fibroma molluscum, fibroma pendulum, papilloma colli, soft fibroma, and Templeton skin tag.
A skin tag is a small flap of tissue that hangs off the skin by a connecting stalk. Skin tags are not dangerous. They are usually found on the neck, chest, back, armpits, under the breasts, or in the groin area. Skin tags appear most often in women, especially with weight gain, and in elderly people. Skin tags usually don’t cause any pain. However, they can become irritated if anything, such as clothing or jewelry, rubs them.
Skin tags typically occur in characteristic locations, including the base of the neck, underarms, eyelids, groin folds, and under 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 pinhead-sized bump. While most tags typically are small at approximately one-third to one-half the size of a pinky fingernail, some skin tags may become as large as a big grape or a fig.
Skin tags are caused by bunches of collagen and blood vessels which are trapped inside thicker bits of skin. Anyone can develop skin tags, but they are particularly common in older people. Some people develop them for no apparent reason. It is thought skin tags grow where skin rubs against skin or clothing. This would explain why they tend to affect overweight people who have excess folds of skin and skin chafing.
Skin tags are more prevalent among people who are overweight, pregnant women, individuals with diabetes, people with the human papilloma virus, and with illegal steroid use as they interfere with the body and muscles, causing the collagen fibers in the skin to bond, allowing skin tags to be formed.
While skin tags are generally harmless and painless, some people may consider having them removed if they find them unsightly, affect their self esteem, snag on clothing, or result bleeding. This procedure involves cosmetic surgery. Skin tags can also be burnt or frozen off in a similar way to how warts are removed.
Skin tags can also be removed by the individual suffering from them by tying off the base of the skin tag with a dental floss or a cotton ball to cut off its blood supply and make it drop off. Sterile scissors can be used to cut off skin tags as well. Dermatologists will not recommend that you remove large skin tags yourself as doing so will result heavy bleeding.