There is little or no discomfort during the
There is little or no discomfort during the
Skin tag is bits of skin- or flesh-colored tissue that project from the surrounding skin from a small, narrow stalk. Some people call these growths “skin tabs” or barnacles. Skin tags typically occur in characteristic locations including the base of the neck, underarms, eyelids, groin folds, and under the breasts (especially where underwire bras rub directly beneath the breasts). Although skin tags may vary somewhat in appearance, they are usually smooth or slightly wrinkled and irregular, flesh-colored or slightly more brown, and hang from the skin by a small stalk. Early or beginning skin tags may be as small as a flattened pinhead-sized bump around the neck. While most tags typically are small (2-5 mm in diameter) at approximately one-third to one-half the size of a pinky fingernail, some skin tags may become as large as a big grape (1 cm in diameter) or a fig (5 cm in diameter).
Skin tags that have changed color or bleed may require your doctor’s evaluation and reassurance. Rarely, thrombosed skin tags may be a sign of another condition and need to be biopsied.
Occasionally, a tag may spontaneously fall off without any pain or discomfort. This may occur after the tag has twisted on itself at the stalk base, interrupting the blood flow to the tag.
The outer layer of the skin (the epidermis) shows overgrowth (hyperplasia), and it encloses an underlying layer of skin (the dermis) in which the normally present collagen fibers appear abnormally loose and swollen. Usually there are no hairs, moles, or other skin structures present in skin tags.
While the majority of skin tags removed are discarded into special medical waste containers, sometimes tissue is sent for microscopic exam by a specialist doctor called a pathologist. Irregular skin growths that are larger, bleed, or have an unusual presentation may require pathology examination to make sure there are no irregular cells or skin cancers.
Some common conditions that can mimic skin tags include seborrheic keratosis, moles, warts, cysts, milia, neurofibromas, and nevus lipomatosis. Rarely, skin cancers like basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and malignant melanoma may mimic skin tags.
While warts are caused by a virus called HPV and are known to be very contagious, most skin tags are not thought to be caused by HPV. A small study showed that some skin tags may be associated with a virus infection.
Skin tags are a type of harmless skin growth or tumor, but they are completely benign. Tags are generally not cancerous (malignant) and don’t become cancerous if left untreated. There are extremely rare instances where a skin tag may become precancerous or cancerous. Skin tag-like bumps that bleed, grow, or display multiple colors like pink, brown, red, or black can require a biopsy to exclude other causes like skin cancer.Skin tags are a type of harmless skin growth or tumor, but they are completely benign. Tags are generally not cancerous (malignant) and don’t become cancerous if left untreated.
There are extremely rare instances where a skin tag may become precancerous or cancerous. Skin tag-like bumps that bleed, grow, or display multiple colors like pink, brown, red, or black can require a biopsy to exclude other causes like skin cancer.
Hormone elevations, such as those seen during pregnancy, may cause an increase in the formation of skin tags, as skin tags are more frequent in pregnant women. Tags are essentially harmless and do not have to be treated unless they are bothersome. Skin tags that are bothersome may be easily removed during or after pregnancy, typically by a dermatologist.
Skin tags are a benign condition and not directly associated with any other major medical conditions. Skin tags are commonly found on healthy people and do not have to be removed.
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