What are Skin tags?

Skin tags are soft, harmless, hyperplastic lesions that seem to hang from the skin and may have a stem (peduncle).They can occur almost any where there is skin, although their favourite areas are theeyelids,neck,armpits,upper chest, and the groin.

Stably benign, these small skin growths do not usually cause symptoms unless they are repeatedly injured, for example, from the collar on the neck.

Treatment may be performed with cryotherapy (liquidnitrogen) or surgical excision with a lancet or scissors if skin tags are in areas causing irritation or for cosmetic reasons. The most painless and aesthetically effective method is removal using surgical CO2 Laser.

Skin tags develop in both men and women as they grow older. They are skin coloured or darker and range in size from 1 mm to 5 cm. They tend to be more numerous in obese persons and in those with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

What causes skin tags?

It is not known what causes skin tags. However, the following factors may play a role:

  • Chaffing and irritation of the skin from rubbing
  • High levels of growth factors, particularly during pregnancy or in the case of acromegaly (gigantism)
  • Insulin resistance (syndrome X)
  • Human papilloma virus (HPV)

How can they be removed?

Skin tags can be removed for cosmetic reasons by the following methods:

  • With the use of the surgical CO2 Laser
  • Cryotherapy (freezing)
  • Surgical excision (often with scissors)
  • Electrosurgery (diathermy)
  • Ligation (a suture is tied around the neck of the skin tag)