Skin Tags: What Are They and Should I Worry?

What is a skin tag?

A skin tag is a small, soft, round growth of skin that stands apart from the rest of your skin. “It’s often not bigger than a few millimeters, but it can grow up to half an inch,” explains Dr. Kellie Reed, board certified dermatologist at Sanova Dermatology. “Once it’s grown, it usually doesn’t change shape or size.” Skin tags often arise from friction between skin against skin. Most common places for skin tags are on the eyelids, in the armpits, or in the groin area.

It’s more common to get skin tags if you have diabetes or if you’re overweight or obese, but any time there’s skin on skin friction, a skin tag can pop up.

A skin tag is NOT a sign of an ailment or anything to worry about. They can become irritated or painful, as well as a cosmetic concern.

Do I need it removed?

“There’s no danger in just letting a skin tag be, but if it is bothering you, there are ways to remove skin tags,” shares Dr. Reed.

Skin tags can be removed by a dermatologist or doctor via cryosurgery – freezing the skin so it falls off – or cautery – cauterizing the skin tags. A doctor could even use sterile surgical scissors to just cut the skin tag off.

These are simple procedures that can be done right in the office with very little to absolutely no discomfort. If a skin tag is bothering you, don’t let fear of the procedure force you to leave it be.

Can I treat a skin tag at home?

“Yes, you can, but it’s strongly advised against,” Dr. Reed admits. “Improperly treating a skin tag at home leaves you much more prone to scarring and infection, which could turn a harmless growth into a serious condition” she says.

When should I worry? 

There is no need to worry about a simple skin tag, just so long as it is actually a skin tag. “If your tag starts changing in size or shape, bleeds or develops an odour, it should be checked by a dermatologist,” says Dr. Reed. If a skin tag develops on a young child it can also be a symptom of a more serious condition.

It’s estimated that 25% of the population will develop skin tags at some point in time in their life. They are not contagious, and there is no need to worry.

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If you have questions about skin tags or other skin conditions please contact us today.

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