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.
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The causes of skin tags are not entirely clear but their presence in skin fold areas suggests that friction or frequent irritation is a potential cause. The condition appears to have a genetic component (there is a tendency for skin tags to occur in families) but other potential causes include hormonal imbalances. For example, skin tags are associated with agromegaly, the growth hormone disorder.
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.
Moles, medically known as nevi (nevus, in singular), are benign conditions of the skin that can be raised or flat, pigmented or flesh colored. Mole removals should only be undertaken after considerable deliberation and thought. Since they oftentimes occur in highly conspicuous areas like the central face, the recovery following a mole removal may be several months before they are not immediately obvious to an observer that you had surgery. Mole removal techniques are graduated and adjusted depending on the type of mole, location of mole, and how unsightly it is aesthetically. Dr. Lam believes that excellent mole removal is predicated not only on superior surgery but also on meticulous and frequent follow-up care to ensure the incision heals well.
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
What's to know about bumps on the skin? Bumps on the skin can be harmless. However, they can also point to more severe conditions, such as skin cancer. Learn all about common types of bumps found on the skin in this MNT Knowledge Center article, from skin tags to melanomas, including their causes, treatment options, and when to see a doctor. Read now