What Are Skin Tags Exactly?
Also known as fibroma pendulum, a skin tag is a benign (non-cancerous)
soft area of skin that hangs off the body. Technically a tumor, skin tags
are made up of collagen fibers, capillaries, lymphatic
vessels, a core of ducts, fat cells, nerve cells and are covered by the
epidermis. Caused by bunches of trapped blood vessels and collagen inside
thicker parts of the skin, they are usually flesh colored, about the size of a
grain of rice or bigger, and look like a little flap of skin connected to the
body by a small stalk of tissue called a peduncle. Known to doctors
as acrochordons, the most common areas where they occur are in the folds of
your skin, such as the eyelids, neck, groin under arms and upper chest, but can
also be found elsewhere on the body. While it can be alarming to see any kind
of growth on your skin, these growths are typically harmless.
Skin tags cause no symptoms unless they are repeatedly scratched or
rubbed. Large skin tags could burst under pressure and shaving and wearing
certain types of jewelry and clothing could cause them to form or rupture.
Are Skin Tags Common?
If you’ve ever found an extraneous nub of tissue protruding from your
skin you’re not alone. According to the American Osteopathic
College of Dermatology, they occur in as much as half the
adult population. Although tags are generally acquired (not present at birth)
and may occur in anyone, more often they arise in adulthood. Both men and women
tend to get more skin tags as they age, increasing in prevalence up to age 60.
While they tend to affect middle-aged people more than younger individuals,
they can happen to anyone. Skin tags are also more common in pregnant women
caused by hormonal changes.
Children and toddlers may also develop skin tags, particularly in the
underarm and neck areas. Since skin tags are thought to arise more in areas of
skin friction or rubbing, skin tags are also more common in overweight
In reality, some people are more prone to developing skin tags and may
have new growths periodically. This is why some individuals require periodic
skin tag removal at annual intervals. Electrocautery is a very effective
procedure that uses a light electrical current to burn off the skin tags in
only one session.
Genetic and Hereditary Factors
Skin tags; no one likes the sight of them, but where do they come from?
Well, you can thank your family for this one. Studies have shown
a genetic predisposition to the development of skin tags. Some
of us are just more prone to skin tags than others. Fortunately, these soft
benign bumps, that can show up anywhere from your eyelids to your groin, are
typically harmless. Many of us have just one or two, but for the unlucky few
who are genetically predisposed, they might have a dozen or more. It’s all part
of our nature, just like curly hair or green eyes. So, if your mother has a
dozen skin tags, you probably will too.
Skin tags aren’t the most important genetic condition scientists are
working on fixing, especially since skin tag removal procedures are quite easy.
However, if your skin tag increases in size, changes in colour, or causes you
pain, see your doctor immediately.Please call for a complementary
consultation at 416-228-0011