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What Are Skin Tags?

By HERWriter
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A skin tag (also known as an acrochordon, plural - acrochorda, cutaneous skin tag or fibroepithelial polyp), is a small benign tumor that forms primarily in areas where the skin forms creases, such as the neck, armpit, and groin. Skin tags are small, usually harmless (benign) skin growths.

Skin tags may occur on the face, usually on the eyelids. Skin tags are harmless and typically painless and do not grow or change over time. The tags are typically the size of a grain of rice. The surface of a skin tag may be smooth or irregular in appearance and is often raised from the surface of the skin on a fleshy stalk called a peduncle.

Microscopically, a skin tag consists of a fibro-vascular core, sometimes also with fat cells, covered by an unremarkable epidermis. However, tags may become irritated by shaving, clothing or jewelry. Very large skin tags may burst under pressure

The only symptom is a growth on the skin. The tag is usually small, although some may be up to a half-inch long. Other characteristics include: located on the neck, armpits, trunk, body folds, or other areas; may have a narrow stalk; usually skin-colored, occasionally darker.

Treatment is usually not necessary unless the skin tags are irritating or are cosmetically displeasing. The growths may be removed by surgery, by freezing (cryotherapy) or by electrical burn (cautery).

Skin tags are very common skin growths. They usually occur after midlife and are usually harmless and non-cancerous (benign). The tag sticks out of the skin, and may have a short, narrow stalk connecting it to the surface of the skin. There is usually no regrowth or scar formation after the skin tags are removed, although new growths may appear elsewhere on the body.

Skin tags are usually painless and do not grow or change. However, they may be irritated from rubbing by clothing or other materials. Skin tags are more common in people who are overweight or who have diabetes. They are thought to occur from skin rubbing against skin, so they commonly form in skin folds.

Diagnosis is based primarily on the appearance of the skin growth. Occasionally, a biopsy may be needed to diagnose an unusual looking skin tag.

There are usually no complications. Occasionally, irritation and discomfort may occur. If cut, they can bleed excessively. The skin tags may be cosmetically unsightly.

Call your health care provider if you have skin tags and you want them removed, or if the appearance of a skin tag changes.


MC Ortega is the former publicist for the late Walter Payton, Coca-Cola and Dunkin’ Donuts. Ortega is a senior communications and messaging executive specializing in media relations, social media, program development and crisis communications. Also, Ortega is an avid traveler and international shopper. Ortega resides with her partner, Craig, dog, Fionne and extensive shoe collection. Ortega also enjoys jewelry design/production and flamenco dancing.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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