Skin Tags: What They Are and What You Can Do About Them
If you’ve ever dealt with skin tags or you have a couple of them right now, you’ve probably asked yourself why on earth they chose you. But the reality is that skin tags are very common (46% of the U.S. population has them), and they’re not the result of anything you did (or didn’t do).
So what are these tiny skin growths? What causes them to appear? Can you do anything about them if they make you uncomfortable? The experts at Medical Tattoo Centers of America share what you need to know below.
What Are Skin Tags?
Skin tags (medically known as acrochordons) are soft, benign skin growths that most often develop either in or near skin folds. They connect to the skin via a tiny, thin stalk called a peduncle, which allows the tag itself to hang off the surrounding skin slightly.
While skin tags aren’t dangerous in any way, they can cause discomfort if they become caught on clothing or jewelry or if anything repeatedly rubs against them. They don’t require medical attention and won’t become cancerous without treatment.
Why Do Skin Tags Develop?
Currently, there’s no definitive cause behind the development of skin tags. However, many researchers and physicians believe they may be a product of repeated skin-to-skin friction since they tend to develop in skin folds. Excessive rubbing from external irritants like jewelry, clothing, and other wearables may also play a role in the formation of these growths.
Although the medical community hasn’t determined an exact cause behind skin tags, they have identified several risk factors that may increase the chance of skin tag development, including:
● Existing skin health issues. Certain chronic skin conditions have been tied to the development of skin tags. Birt-Hogg-Dube Syndrome is one of them.
● Weight. Historically, those who are overweight are more likely to develop skin tags.
● Aging. The majority of individuals who develop skin tags are over the age of 60. For this reason, researchers believe that the skin’s natural loss of structural proteins (collagen and elastin) may make people more prone to skin tag growth.
● Genetic factors. Individuals who have a history of skin tags in their family are often more likely to develop them too.
● Insulin resistance. Researchers believe that individuals who live with diabetes may be more prone to developing skin tags, though the evidence is inconclusive.
Are There Treatments for Skin Tag Removal?
If you have skin tags and they make you uncomfortable, or if they tend to get caught on clothing or jewelry and cause pain, you may want to consider skin tag removal. This procedure should only be performed by a licensed medical professional — you should never attempt to cut skin tags off by yourself!
When you visit a a skin tag removal specialist, you’ll have a consultation to determine the best removal procedure for your needs. Based on the recommendation of your provider, you may undergo one of the three following treatments:
● Electrocauterization. This procedure involves heating the skin tag(s) with a handheld electronic device to essentially cauterize them off the surrounding skin.
● Cryotherapy. This procedure involves applying liquid nitrogen to the skin tag to freeze the tissue and cause the skin cells to die. The skin tag will fall off on its own after about 10-14 days.
● Surgical skin tag removal. During this procedure, your provider will use a scalpel or surgical scissors to remove the skin tag from the surrounding skin.
While there are a few over-the-county remedies for skin tags, they’re largely ineffective. You can certainly give them a try, but results take a long time to show up, if they’re noticeable at all. If you’re tired of living with these growths and just want them gone, professional skin tag treatment is inarguably the best option.
Schedule Skin Tag Removal in the Twin Cities
If you’re living with skin tags you don’t want, let our team at Medical Tattoo Centers of America help you look and feel your best. We prioritize patient safety and privacy above all else and offer a variety of skin tag removal treatments and other cosmetic procedures.
To get started or learn more about how we can help you, feel free to request a complimentary consultation or call our Blaine, MN office today at 612-770-0000. You can also send us a message with any questions, and we’ll be in touch.