Skin tags (acrochordons) are small, noncancerous (benign) growths that usually measure only a few millimeters in length, though they can grow up to half an inch.3 They typically appear on the neck, armpit, groin or inframammary areas.4 Almost half the population has been reported to have a skin tag, but the condition is more associated with obese people.5 Skin tags are also rare during childhood, but older people have an increased chance of developing them.6
Most moles are unnoticeable and do not require removal. Obvious moles that are dark, bumpy or just simply irritating, are the ones primarily considered for removal. Those who are conscious about how they look may consider this quick cosmetic enhancement. Healthwise, any mole that changes in appearance, must be promptly checked to ensure that it is not cancerous.
Not sure if your skin lesion is actually a wart? Dr Yip explains how to tell the two apart: “A skin tag is usually soft and hangs off the skin with a narrow base. Warts are rough, scaly and raised bumps on the skin surface caused by viruses, therefore they can spread easily to other body areas and may be contagious to others.” If you can’t figure out which one has taken up residence on your body, it’s best to see your GP or dermatologist. Moles can also look similar to skin tags, so when in doubt (as some moles can be cancerous), it’s always best to get them checked by a skin professional.
Skin tags, medically termed as acrochordons or fibroepithelial polyps (FEP), are just a tiny benign bit of flesh that is typically connected to the underlying skin by a thin stalk. Yeah, gross. On the exterior, they look like minuscule bits of “hanging” skin that are typically taller than wide. These growths are seen in approximately half of all people and can form for a variety of reasons. However, they turn up more often during pregnancy, in diabetics, obese individuals, and those that have a family history of skin tags. They are also more common as you age—and men and women suffer them at about the same rate.
A mole, known by the medical term nevus, is a brown or black growth that occurs on the skin when cells grow in a cluster, rather than spread out. Moles, which can appear anywhere on the skin’s surface, may be present at birth or develop later in life. Over time, some moles change, others disappear and still others remain the same. People with fair complexions, red or blond hair, and blue or green eyes are more apt to have moles.
Skin tags are thought to occur from skin rubbing up against skin, since they are so often found in skin creases and folds. Studies have shown existence of low-risk HPV 6 and 11 in skin tags, hinting at a possible role in its pathogenesis. Acrochorda have been reported to have a prevalence of 46% in the general population. A causal genetic component is thought to exist. They also are more common in women than in men. Acrochorda were once thought to be associated with colorectal polyps, but studies have shown no such connection exists. Rarely, they can be associated with the Birt–Hogg–Dubé syndrome, acromegaly, and polycystic ovary syndrome.
Some common skin tag look-alikes include benign lesions such as seborrheic keratoses, common moles, warts, neurofibromas, and a fatty mole called nevus lipomatosus. While extremely rare, there are a few reports of skin cancers found in skin tags. Skin cancers like basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and malignant melanoma may rarely mimic skin tags, as described above.
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."
Dr. Lam performs careful mole removal based on the type of mole one has. If the mole is relatively flat and not very unsightly, he may elect to cauterize it off to minimize the cost and recovery compared to a surgically incised mole removal. However, if the mole is elevated and/or unsightly, he may excise the mole to ensure that it is properly eradicated since cautery can lead to recurrence. As seen in the Figure, elevated moles have a portion that remains under the skin that will lead to recurrence if not excised, so cauterization of raised moles most oftentimes fails.
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.
The cost to remove a mole is variable depending on the body location and nature of the mole. Some moles are best treated by excision with stitching. Flat moles that are not raised off the skin surface are a good example of this since trying to shave the mole could involve getting too deep into the skin and leave a "divot" or ice-pick type scar without suturing the area closed. Moles that are more raised off the skin can usually be shaved off but may also benefit from suturing to refine the scar/blemish that forms especially if on the face or other highly exposed areas. The cost will range from $200 - $350 depending on the technique used. One thing to always keep in mind is that a genuine mole should never be simply ablated, such as with laser, liquid nitrogen or radio-frequency without a biopsy being done first to ensure the mole is safe. Otherwise, an ablation type treatment may simply mask the remnants of the mole that is destined to form a melanoma.
As for the discomfort factor: “The treatment stings for a few seconds, and it turns the area red and inflamed. Some people form little blisters or scab over in the few days after it, as the extreme cold has destroyed the skin cells in order to make the skin tag go away. So that’s my go-to if they’re very small, like a tiny, fleshy bump of a skin tag.
But there’s an even bigger reason you should visit an expert. After dermatologists remove a growth, they’ll look at it under a microscope. “There are things that look like skin tags but are cancerous,” says Dr. Rossi. That doesn’t mean you should freak out if you do find a skin tag. Most will just be benign, but you won’t know for sure until you’ve asked. Plus, checking a skin tag is a “good excuse” to get your doctor to check the rest of your body for skin cancer and atypical or malignant growths, says Dr. Rossi. Next, read up on these things you should never, ever do to your skin.
Moles are pigmented skin growths, also called nevi, that can appear anywhere on the body singly or in groups. Almost all adults have at least a few and some may have up to 40. Normally appearing as a dark brown spot, a mole may also be blue, black, pink or flesh-colored or may be raised and highly visible. Some may change over time or even gradually disappear. Whatever their color or shape, most moles are harmless and cause no symptoms other than discomfort when they rub against something.
Been getting rid of overgrown, strange and poorly positioned moles one by one. Works! On my neck, where there’s multiple, small moles I have used this as an all-over treatment with success, too. Still working on it, but great reductions already. Would probably be quicker if I were more consistent, but still working, just slow. (Dark moles generally turn light after a few applications). * - Theresa
Because of this, it is vital that you mix it with a carrier oil, like coconut oil or almond oil, before applying to the skin. Mix 2 drops of a carrier oil with 4 drops of a high-quality oil of oregano and apply three times a day to skin tags. You do not need to cover it with a bandage; allow it to soak into the skin naturally. Do not apply it to broken or irritated skin.
This method may be the most effective method to remove skin tags, but you should not do this method at home. Cutting or scratching the skin tag off yourself is dangerous. It leaves you susceptible to infections and if done incorrectly can cause excessive bleeding. If you are interested in having a skin tag cut off, see a doctor to do the procedure safely.
Apply tea tree oil. This oil is well known for its anti-fungal properties. Get out a clean cotton ball. Dip it into clean water and then place three drops of tea tree oil onto the ball. Wash the area of the skin tag and the skin 1” around it using the cotton ball. Repeat three times a day. This is an effective way to dry up your tag as long as you are consistent with oil applications.
A biopsy usually involves taking cells or samples from the mole to be analyzed in a lab, according to the Mayo Clinic. Moles are usually just clusters of pigment cells called melanocytes, according to the Cleveland Clinic, but sometimes they can become cancerous. A biopsy helps determine if there is anything wrong with the mole, like melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.
Costs vary from $150 to $1500 per mole. The fee is based on the type of method used and other factors such as the mole size, depth and location. If the mole is noncancerous, the treatment is considered cosmetic and therefore does not qualify with most insurance covers. If cancer is found within the mole, insurance will most likely cover some of the cost of the removal.
I'm happy to say this product worked great on one large brownish raised mole which is the one I most wanted to be gone. PTL! I was faithful in its application as directed to this mole and a couple others that weren't the same in size or color. Unfortunately I still have the others but will continue to apply and see what happens. To me this product was worth it just to get rid of the one big mole without going to the doctors office and having it cut off and have stitches leaving a scar. * - Chandra
I was extremely satisfied with the end result of the mole reviewer product. I received my product in an orderly fashion but became discouraged when after 3 weeks my mole was still present but upon my 5th week I began to see a change in the mole they had shrinked and became hard, by the end of that week I accidentally scratch my neck (where one of the moles existed) and the mole fell off. I had 2 on my neck and one on my face and they are all gone. It did leave a blemish behind but it's slowly fading away. My next product will be the age spot remover oil. * - Marvinia
Dysplastic nevi are moles that are generally larger than average (larger than a pencil eraser) and irregular in shape. They tend to have uneven color with dark brown centers and lighter, uneven edges. These nevi are somewhat more likely to become melanoma. In fact, people who have 10 or more dysplastic nevi have a 12 times higher chance of developing melanoma, a serious form of skin cancer. Any changes in a mole should be checked by a dermatologist to evaluate for skin cancer.
Soft, fleshy growths that hang from the skin are commonly referred to as skin tags. Acrochordons — as they are referred to within the medical community — are not cancerous. They are generally considered a cosmetic concern, not a medical issue. They rarely cause pain or discomfort. But many people find them unsightly and want to know how to remove skin tags. (1)
Repetitive friction and wearing tight clothes may contribute to skin tags in people who are overweight. According to a medical paper written by dermatologists in Spain, an obese patient, whose job required repeating lifting of her arms, developed a pattern of skin tags along her bra straps from the constant friction. Avoiding tight clothing if you are overweight is suggested.