According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 46% of people have skin tags in the United States. Although skin tags are often small and harmless, these skin growths can be unsightly and embarrassing. Skin tags occur when a bunch of collagen and blood vessels get trapped inside thicker bits of skin. They are also believed to be caused by frequent friction of the skin, which is why skin tags are often found in the creases or folds of the skin. Adults who suffer from skin tags may find themselves in one of the following common categories:
- Overweight or obese
- Pregnant women
- HPV (human papilloma virus) positive
- Illegal steroid users
Skin tags appear as raised, small fleshy stalks, usually about 2mm to 1cm in diameter. They are composed of a core of fibers and ducts, nerve cells, fat cells, and a covering or epidermis. They are benign and typically do not cause any harm. However, if you have a skin tag that gets rubbed frequently with jewelry or even shaved, it can become irritated or even burst. Some people never even know they have a skin tag while others have skin tags that swell or become infected.
While skin tags do not normally fall off on their own, a dermatologist can effectively remove them. Olansky Dermatology Associates is a full service dermatology practice that offers patients simple, in-office treatment options such as cryosurgery using liquid nitrogen or delicate surgical excision for skin tag removal. If you have a skin tag that is bothering you, either because of its appearance and location or due to its irritating symptoms, let a board certified dermatologist remove it safely and easily.