Moles are typically small, dark skin growths that develop from pigment-producing cells in the skin but they can be raised off the skin and very noticeable or they may contain dark hairs. The special cells that contain the pigment melanin are responsible for the brown color. They can be round, oval, flat, or raised. Most moles are brown, but colors can range from pinkish flesh tones to yellow, dark blue, or black.
This content is strictly the opinion of Dr. Josh Axe and is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Axe nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer which begins in skin cells called melanocytes and affects more than 53,600 people in the United States each year. These melanocytes can grow together to form benign moles which, after a change in size, shape, or color can be a sign of melanoma. Caused by sun exposure, early detection becomes extremely important to avoid a spread to other areas of the body. Diagnosis is confirmed through a biopsy of the abnormal skin and treatment depends on the extent and characteristics of the patient. Metastatic melanoma is melanoma that has spread to various organs.
"Neurofibromas are just little skin-colored, fleshy papules. These little bumps are very common," says Geraghty. "Some people hear 'neurofibroma' and they may think of the genetic syndrome called neurofibromatosis." Neurofibromas can be seen in neurofibromatosis (a genetic condition), but most people have neurofibromas without having the genetic syndrome neurofibromatosis. "Neurofibroma lesions can happen even without that syndrome and typically that’s the case." Like skin tags, neurofibromas are benign.
Burning the skin tag. If cutting or freezing the tag off isn’t an option, the dermatologist may burn the skin tag off. The skin tag and surrounding area will be cleaned. The doctor then uses a small piece of wire that is heated with an electrical current to burn the stalk of the tag. The heat will help prevent the skin tag from bleeding. The tag should fall off following the procedure.
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.
If you want to try it I don’t think it’ll probably harm the skin tags, however. The worst that can happen is you’ll probably get a little red or itchy and inflamed there. So, while I don’t think it’s going to hurt, I don’t think it’s going to help," says Geraghty. She added that you could cause skin irritation and redness with these treatments, without getting results or getting rid of the skin tag.
Certain endocrine syndromes, metabolic syndrome, and hormonal imbalances. Researchers have found that certain hormone-related syndromes, including polycystic ovarian syndrome and metabolic syndrome, may be related to skin tags. In fact, a small study of 110 patients with skin tags found 70 had diabetes. Additionally, researchers noted that patients with skin tags also had higher blood pressure. (4)
Abnormal or unsightly moles can generally be excised in a brief and straightforward outpatient procedure performed under local anesthesia by Dr. Rapaport. Dr. Rapaport has vast experience in skin cancer treatment, particularly in the treatment of malignant melanoma. Dr. Rapaport’s experience and expertise in skin cancer treatment makes him an ideal specialist for the identification and treatment of both “normal” non-cancerous moles and “abnormal” pre-cancerous moles. Along with his knowledge of skin cancer treatment, Dr. Rapaport’s aptitude for cosmetic surgery enables him to minimize the potential of an unsightly scar formation during the mole removal.
Skin tags, medically known as acrochordons, are soft, skin colored flaps of skin that extend out from various parts on your body. They generally do not cause pain unless rubbed frequently or twisted, and are not a medical threat. Most doctors advise to leave skin tags alone unless you are intent on removing them. If you would like to remove your skin tags, you can visit your doctor’s office to discuss your options. You can also apply natural oils or mixtures to your tag in the hopes of drying it out until it eventually falls off. If you have a growth that is too firm to wiggle, is a different color than your surrounding skin, has raw or bleeding areas, or causes you pain, consult with your doctor immediately to determine if the growth is more critical than a skin tag.
Tell your doctor if the skin tag is painful, itchy, bleeding or constantly catching on clothes or jewelry. Any of this can help the case if you're fighting for your health insurance to foot the bill. And if insurance does pay for it they will pay for up to 14 symptomatic skin tags at one time, explains Geraghty. "For people who come in with quite a few skin tags, it’s good to just get them all done on the same day just from an insurance standpoint."
Other skin conditions such as warts and moles can resemble skin tags. Since some moles may be cancerous, it’s best to have your skin tags examined by a doctor. Your dermatologist or family doctor will be able to diagnose skin tags. They’ll likely do this through a visual exam. If they have any doubt about the diagnosis, they may also perform a biopsy.