Those small, protruding growths on the body known as skin tags can be an annoyance to behold. Worse is when they get caught on your clothing or jewelry.
Though they’re usually harmless and benign, skin tags can sometimes grow large or become irritated. They can creep up on any part of the body, and some people have multiple tags on their skin. This sometimes prompts health concerns.
Where it can get really confusing and worrisome is trying to distinguish different types of skin growths from one another. Is it a tag, mole, wart, or cyst? Is my health in danger? Why are they in a cluster? Dr. Ahmet Altiner, a dermatologist, discusses skin tags and when you should be concerned about skin afflictions that may cause cancer.
He mentions that normally you’ll find skin tags on the neck or armpit, and they are the same color as your skin. Dark spots on the face are often mistaken for skin tags when they are either warts, seborrheic keratosis, or dermatosis papulosa nigra. These dark-colored growths can look similar to skin cancer, but they too are benign.
Tags typically appear to be thinner at the base (called a stalk), while the part that “dangles” is wider. They are fleshy and can show up as independent bumps or as a group of revelers. Skin tags are commonly found in adults who are middle-aged but they can pop up on anyone – including kids!
It’s also thought that skin-on-skin friction is behind their appearance, as well as friction from jewelry or shirt collars. Skin tags can also develop due to genetics, obesity, or diabetes, and are also commonly found where the skin folds.
Besides the neck and armpits, those regions may include the eyelids or groin. Additionally, the removal of them is considered a cosmetic procedure, and therefore insurance typically won’t cover the costs. You’ll have to pay your doctor out of pocket to get rid of them.
Listen to the clip to hear what Dr. Altiner has to say about skin tags, melanoma, and other common conditions that are mistaken for one another. It’s recommended to visit a dermatologist to determine what type of growth you have and possible removal.
If you have skin tags that are causing discomfort, there are several medical treatments available for removal by a physician. Methods include cutting, freezing, or burning, but in each instance the site will be cauterized to prevent bleeding and infection.
If you choose to remove skin tags on your own, there are a range of home remedies that vary from tea tree oil, to apple cider vinegar, to dental floss. Beware that you may run the risk of infection if something goes haywire with your DIY removal.
Bothersome skin tags should be evaluated by a doctor, as should growths that are bleeding, itchy, or changing colors. Get checked out to be sure!
Have you ever had skin tags? Were you worried they were something malignant? Did you have them removed or did you leave them alone?