Skin tags, or acrochordons, are small harmless, skin-colored pedunculated growths of normal skin. They tend to form on frictional skin, or places where the skin rubs together like the armpits, neck folds, under the breasts, or in the groin.
The chances of getting skin tags increase as you get older. People who are overweight, diabetic or pregnant have a greater chance of getting skin tags. Sometimes skin tags run in the family. There is no test for skin tags and a trained eye can diagnose skin tags clinically.
How are skin tags treated?
Usually skin tags are not treated. However you can seek advice and treatment from your dermatologist if the skin tag becomes painful, irritated or changes color. Treatment options include freeezing the tag with a very cold liquid like liquid nitrogen, snipping the tag off with surgical scissors or burning the tag off with a procedure called electrodessication. Lesions often bleed freely after surgical removal. Your doctor may use aluminum chloride, silver nitrate sticks, or electrosurgery to stop bleeding. Please note that silver nitrate may cause permanent skin discoloration. Skin tags that are removed are unlikely to recur, but new ones can develop in the same areas.
Skin tag look-alikes
Sometimes skin tags can be confused with other growths that may look like skin tags, like neurofibromas, intradermal nevi and even a skin cancer like basal cell cancer. It is important to talk to your dermatologist for any bleeding, non-healing lesions on your skin. Sometimes a biopsy can help differentiate between a skin tag from other concerning diagnosis.