What To Do About Your Skin Tags: Is Removal Necessary?

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What is this new piece of out of place skin that has developed? It’s always alarming when a new skin growth arises, and it’s important no matter how benign (noncancerous) it seems, to get it professionally examined by a board-certified dermatologist. When it comes to skin tags though, they’re more of a nuisance or embarrassment than they are a danger to your health.

A skin tag is a benign growth of skin cells. They tend to form in areas where the skin creases such as your eyelids, neck, under the breasts, underarms, and groin area. Although close to half the population has had a skin tag or more, they’re more common among certain groups. Women, particularly during pregnancy, the elderly, and overweight or obese individuals tend to develop skin tags. They also tend to run in families, so if your grandmother and mother has them, chances are good you will too. One people can have anywhere from one to 100 skin tags at once

Typical skin tags, also known as acrochordons, are small, oval or round pieces of skin that hang off surface of your skin. This little skin growth may be annoying but it isn’t necessarily dangerous, and, contrary to popular belief, skin tags are not signs of early skin cancer detection.

A skin tag may require removal because it’s located in an area prone to irritation and could become red from bleedingor black from twisting and as a result of the skin tissue dying. Sometimes, they may become snagged by clothing, jewelry, or seat belts, causing pain or discomfort.

Early on, skin tags may be as small as a flattened pinhead-sized bump. While most tags are typically small (2 mm-5 mm in diameter) at approximately 1/3 to 1/2 the size of a pinky fingernail, some skin tags can grow to be as large as1 to 5 cm in diameter.

However, if you don’t like the way skin tags look, or find them bothersome, then you can have them removed by your dermatologist. He or she can remove a skin tag by snipping it off with a scalpel or scissors, by freezing it off with cryosurgery, or by burning it off with electrosurgery. The entire procedure takes only a few minutes, is virtually painless, and typically heals with 24 hours. Also, removing a skin tag does not cause more to grow.

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