Skin tags are narrow, short stalks that stick out above the skin surface. This common skin ailment affects more than 3 million people per year within the United States. The National Institute of Health conducted research that revealed approximately 46% of the population in the United States has skin tags. This painless and harmless skin ailment has people rushing to the doctor in fear a serious growth is forming on their skin. The following information will help you learn more about skin tags.

Who gets skin tags?

Anyone ranging from infancy to the elderly can develop a skin tag. Almost everyone will develop a skin tag at some point in their life. Skin tags often start out small and gradually grow larger. Some patients have reported small skin tags while others are quite large. Some skin tags range from 1cm to 5cm and resemble a flattened, small pinhead. The elderly is more prone to developing skin tags than others. According to the National Institute of Health around 59% of people will develop skin tags by the time they are 70 years old.

Symptoms

Skin tag growths often appear on the upper chest, shoulders, neck, eyelids and underarms. The location of the skin tag can be bothersome if you are not able to hide it under clothing. Some people might also experience darkening of the skin surrounding the skin tag or discoloration of the skin tag.

Causes

Skin tags are known to be caused by skin rubbing against skin. They often appear in folds and creases of the skin. The development of skin tags is created due to blood vessels and collagen trapped inside thicker bits of skin.

Risk Factors for Developing Skin Tags

  • Pregnancy due to hormonal changes
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Changes in levels of progesterone and estrogen
  • Human Papilloma Virus (HPV 6 and 11)
  • High Blood Pressure
  • High Cholesterol Levels

Skin tags are harmless and benign growths that can be removed by a professional. Some skin tags are small and can fall off by themselves. However, larger skin tags can be removed using electrolysis, cryosurgery, ligation or excision. Remember blood vessels are involved so treatment and removal need to be done by a professional.

If you have skin tags that are bothering you, becoming irritated or in a visible place you can choose to have it removed. Take action today by making an appointment with me, Dr. G via 305.667.5480 your dermatologist.