Skin tags, or the medical term acrochordon, is a common and noncancerous skin growths that can be embarrassing, annoying and sometimes painful in day-to-day life. They are usually as tiny as a fingernail, flesh-colored or slightly darker skin, and typically occurs on the base of the neck, underarms, eyelids, groin folds, and under the breasts. They are so common that at least 25 percent of all adults have at least one, and many people want to get rid of them. The average person can have anywhere from one to 100 skin tags on their body at one time, with middle-aged and obese adults being more prone to developing them. People who have skin tags in their family are more likely to develop them at some point in their life.
Younger children can also develop skin tags and tend to around their eyes because of rubbing, while older children tend to develop them underneath their armpits from the repetitive friction during sports. Pregnant women also become more susceptible to skin tags because of the hormone elevations and can be safely removed from the body while still pregnant.
Treatment and removal is simple, quick and easy. The dermatologist will rub the skin tag with alcohol and either snip it off with surgical scissors or freeze and burn it off. The pain is minimal and will heal within 24 hours. There is no evidence that the removal of a skin tag will cause it to grow back, or if any will grow back at all. It’s simply a harmless skin growth of a buildup of skin cells.
There are bumps that develop that can appear to be skin tags and aren’t. It’s important that with any new growth on your body, a board-certified dermatologist should look at it. If the skin tag-like bumps bleed, grow or appear with multiple colors such as pink, brown, red or black; a biopsy is required to check for skin cancer.