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Skin tags

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Also known as acrochordons.

Skin tags are harmless growths that hang from the surface of your skin. They range in size from 1mm to 1cm and are made of collagen fibres and blood vessels surrounded by skin. Skin tags tend to form in places where skin rubs together. They are commonly found on the eyelids, neck, armpits, under the breasts, or in the groin.

The exact cause of skin tags is unknown, however the following factors are involved:

  • Genetics
  • Irritation/friction from skin rubbing together
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy

Skin tags are very common and occur in approximately 50% of adults. They occur in both men and women as they grow older. They are more likely to affect people who are overweight or people who are diabetic, however some people develop them for no apparent reason. There is often a family history of skin tags.

You can reduce your risk of developing skin tags by losing weight.  You can reduce your risk of developing skin tags by maintaining ideal body weight through healthy diet and exercise

There is usually no reason to treat skin tags. They can be removed for cosmetic reasons, or may be removed if they frequently snag on clothing or jewellery. However, once skin tags are removed, it is not unusual to form a new skin tag in the same area.

The following methods may be suggested by your dermatologist:

  • Freezing the tag with liquid nitrogen (cryotherapy)
  • Removing the tag with surgical scissors (surgical excision)
  • Burning the tag (hyfrecation)

Skin tags can bleed once they are removed, so never try to pull or cut a skin tag on your own.

Skin Tags – Neck
Skin Tags – Arm
Skin Tags – Chest

This information has been written by Dr Victoria Venning and Dr Penny Alexander
Published: 20 June 2019

Download: Skin Tags

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