Skin tags are common, acquired benign skin growths that resemble a small, soft balloon suspended on a slender stalk. Skin tags are harmless growths that can vary in number from one to hundreds. Males and females are equally prone to developing skin tags. Obesity seems to be associated with skin tag development. Although some skin tags may fall off spontaneously, most persist once formed. The medical name for skin tag is acrochordon. Some people call them "skin tabs."
Tying a String. For an elongated skin tag, your physician may tie a sterile string around the base to cut off the blood supply, causing the skin tag to die. As skin tags do have a blood supply of their own and doing this technique improperly can cause excessive bleeding, it is not recommended to do this yourself. When deciding how to remove skin tags, there are other safe and effective at-home treatments you can try.
These benign growths often appear on the folds of the skin where moisture and friction are common. This includes under arms and in the armpit region, on the neck, under the breast, near the genitals, on eyelids, or on the torso. While they can be irritated by clothing or jewelry, they typically are painless. Rarely, if a skin tag is twisted, a small blood clot can develop, which may make it tender or painful.
A mole is a skin abnormality that develops when skin grows in a cluster instead of spreading out. These are usually dark, small patches of skin no larger than the size of an eraser head. Although they are most often harmless, some moles can develop into melanoma skin cancer. If you are concerned about a mole that may be cancerous, please refer to our skin cancer treatment page.
Experts don't know the exact cause of skin tags, but they believe that these growths appear when skin rubs against skin. As such, skin tags are often found in armpits, or on the neck and groin.9 In other cases, your skin tag may be confused with a condition known as the Birt-Hogg-Dube (BHD) syndrome, a condition that produces growths on the skin that look exactly like skin tags.10
Lemon juice is a powerful antiseptic, and it also contains citric acid which helps to dry out skin tags by decomposing the cells. Take a half of fresh lemon and apply the juice to a cotton ball. Apply this directly to the skin tag and leave it on without washing it off. You can apply this up to three times a day and continue the routine until the skin tag falls off.
Shaving: A combination treatment that uses electrocautery and shaving to reduce the appearance of protruding moles. Mole shaving does not remove the root of the mole, so there is no excision scar, however there is a chance it will grow back over time. This procedure is most commonly used on protruding moles in areas that do not heal well with excision (nose).
Moles are extremely common skin growths, most adults have from 10 to 40 moles, and they can develop on virtually any part of the body. They may be flat or raised, and nearly color brown, black, pink, red, white, purple, blue, or flesh colored. Most moles are non-cancerous (benign), and no cause for concern. However, a mole can sometimes develop into melanoma, a dangerous form of skin cancer.
"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.
There are currently five conventional skin tag treatments used by dermatologists, depending on the size, location and condition of the skin. Discuss all options thoroughly with your health care provider to determine how to get rid of skin tags that are causing you distress. Remember, as they are generally not considered a medical condition, chances are your health insurance will not cover the removal options listed here. You likely will be required to pay out-of-pocket for these procedures.
Skin tags are small, usually measured in millimeters, but can grow to a half-inch in length. A skin tag may start to develop without you’re even noticing. Once formed, they typically don’t get any bigger. They can show up virtually anywhere on the body, but are most often on the eyelids, the neck, the groin area, and in the armpits — basically on areas of the body with folds. You may have just one or two or many, and they might be in isolated spots or in a group with many skin tags.
Doctors do not recommend that you snip off you skin tag yourself. "I see patients come into my office and you know they’re in pain because they've tried to clip the skin tags off themselves," says Geraghty. "Maybe part of it was left behind so it’s just having a hard time healing, or they’ve tried to do that trick where they try to tie dental floss or thread around it to strangulate the skin tag and end up killing part of the tissue but not the other, which is still hanging on. These patients will end up with a sore, red, inflamed, tender bump."
Congenital nevi are moles that are present at birth. Congenital nevi occur in about one in 100 people. These moles are slightly more likely to develop into melanoma (cancer) than are moles that appear after birth. A mole or freckle should be checked if it has a diameter of more than a pencil eraser or any characteristics of the ABCDEs of melanoma (see below).
The punch biopsy has been done, and now the area has the mole in the middle but not yet removed. It will be taken out with forceps (a tweezer-like instrument) and put in a specimen bottle to be sent to the lab for analysis. It is important that every mole be sent for analysis in order to make sure that no atypical cells remain or that it isn't a precancerous type of mole. Photo courtesy Joel Schlessinger, MD, Board Certified Dermatologist, lovelyskin.com.Click to view larger image.
Most people choose to remove them for cosmetic reasons, especially skin tags that surface on the neck, eyelid, or face. In rare cases, a skin tag can get irritated and infected. In that case, skin tag removal is the best course of action to prevent infection from reoccurring. But, what causes them? And once you have them, you need to know how to get rid of skin tags. We’ll explain it all.
I never knew what skin tags were until about 10 years ago. They’re annoying more than anything, but I know some people who are very concerned when they have them (even if they’ve gone to the doctor and been cleared). Good to see there are a number of home remedies. Not surprised to see apple cider vinegar listed as a possible solution. If ever nature produced a universal elixir, that would be it.
I've applied the oil at least 3 dimes daily for the past 2 weeks, but there has been no change in the size of the 5mm mole below my left lower lip nor the 2mm size mole on my right nostril. I have noticed skin peeling from the surface of the moles on a few occasions when I wash my face. And, maybe a slight color change. I plan to keep applying it and see what happens. I'm hoping for the best! * - Emma
As far as other DIY methods for skin tag removal at home, such as applying apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, tea tree oil, etc., Geraghty notes that there's no compelling evidence to show that those therapies are effective. "You can't make tissue disappear by putting a little vinegar on it. It just doesn’t work... You really need that to physically be removed."
We’ve already established they’re small, fleshy and odd-looking, but seriously, what are they?! “Skin tags are harmless fleshy skin-coloured growths made up of collagen fibres and blood vessels that hang off the skin, and can range from a few millimetres to a few centimetres in size,” explains Canberra-based Consultant Dermatologist and Skin Surgeon, Dr Leona Yip. She adds that you’ll most likely find skin tags - also known as acrochordons - in skin folds like your neck, armpit, under the breasts and around the groin. “These are areas that are prone to skin friction where the opposing sides of skin rubs against each other.” They can also form along the lash line of the eyelid.
I went on my way after my doctor’s appointment, relieved. But maybe I shouldn’t have been. Many doctors I've spoken to say people with obesity are more likely to get skin tags due to the increase in skin friction. I probably weighed 120 pounds (lbs) booted out in snow gear. But there are other risk factors for skin tags — factors that, if you’re suffering from them, may be worth investigating.