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Skin TagsAccording to estimatesi nearly every second person (or 50% of the population) has skin tags.
However, skin tags can also be very large (about the size of a grape) and almost unbearable to live with.
There is also a rare type of skin tags, called fibroma.
Fibroma skin tags - description, symptoms and signs, and photo
The remainder of this site focuses on the common skin tag, and when the term skin tag is used, it is being used to refer to the common skin tag.
The common skin tag - description, symptoms and signs, and pictures / photos.
Photos and pictures of skin tags
It is a skin tag that was growing in the groin area, and is a very close up perspective. The skin tag has the larger top part, and the narrower base, which is very typical of a common skin tag. For reference purposes, this skin tag is about 2-4 millimetres across.
RIGHT: This is the same skin tag, but taken from a top view perspective, again, really close up.
Where do skin tags occur?
Although skin tags may appear anywhere on the body, they are more commonly found on the neck, armpits (axillae), beneath the breast, on the eyelids, and in the groin and perianal area.
Some people develop clusters of skin tags dangling in visible body parts like the eyelids and neck.
Skin tags of the genitalia are especially embarrassing to those who are sexually active since their partner may mistake them for some type of venereal disease.
When skin tags are profuse in number, skin tags may occur on the face, chest, and back.
What do skin tags look like?
Some skin tags are wrinkled, some skin tags look filled out. Either way they appear to hang off the surounding skin by a more slender stalk.
How do skin tags change as they grow?
Skin tags usually first appear as tiny bumps resembling pimples. As they grow they turn into a protruding piece of skin that appears attached by a stalk.
What is the color of a skin tag?
Usually skin tags will remain the same color as the surrounding skin (hence the name “skin tags”) but there are those that will have a slightly darker appearance.
What is the size of a skin tag?
Skin tags range in size from 1 mm to 1 cm in diameter and some will grow to the size of a grape.
How many skin tags can one get?
Where there is one skin tag, you will often find several hanging off the skin.
Some individuals have numerous skin tags in colossal numbers.
The majority of people have no more than three skin tags per localization, but the frequency and number increase with advancing age and obesity.
Do only girls or guys get skin tags?
Both males and females have skin tags.
How prevalent are skin tags?
60% of the population get skin tags by age 65.
Are skin tags painful?
Skin tags are usually soft and painless, although they can become irritated if they are rubbed a lot.
What this skin tag web site is all about:
In all these cases, skin tags can cause a lot of worry and affect the overall self esteem of the person.
This web site is going to give an overview of skin tags. It’s designed to help you understand more about what skin tags are and what you can do to remove skin tags.
What are skin tags?
Skin tags, also known as “acrochordons” or “cutaneous papilloma”, are benign, non-cancerous skin tumors that hang off the skin by a connecting stalk.
If you were to examine a skin tag under the microscope, histologic examination would reveal tissue composed of fibrous collagen fibers and dilated capillaries, indicating that a skin tag is softer, more elastic, and about as vascularized as the surrounding skin.
The use of skin tags for reconstruction of the ear has been well documented. Very recently the use of skin tags for use in reconstruction of the nose was reported.ii
However, although skin tags may be harmless:
In defining skin tags here, we are defining a common type of skin tag - that which most people mean when they talk of skin tags. However, another definition of skin tag is any piece of skin that sticks out from the rest. So a person could suffer, for example, from anal skin tags, which is a type of skin tag caused by a hemorrhoid stretching the skin - when the hemorrhoid goes away, the little bit of stretched skin remains sticking out, this is not the common type of skin tags talked about here, but it is none the less a skin tag.
What Causes Skin Tags?
What mechanism triggers skin tags to develop is not known, but we do know something about what causes skin tags.
The following have been found to cause skin tags:
A number of studies have reported an increased incidence of skin tags with obesity and or diabetes
Examination of 110 patients with skin tags revealed that 26.9 percent where obese and 42 percent were overweight.iv Skin tags were most commonly seen on the neck and in the axillae and groin. The neck also had the greatest number of skin tags. The total number of skin tags/patient was 25 and the mean age of onset of skin tags was 42 years.v
Obesity is responsible for a variety of changes in skin physiology and is implicated in a wide spectrum of dermatologic diseases. Considering that nearly two thirds of adult Americans are either overweight or obesevi, the impact of obesity on the skin is profound.
Obese people with skin tags also had a family history of diabetes or were already diabetic and under treatment.
Interestingly, the total number of skin tags was associated with fasting blood glucose levels suggesting a strong association between the number of skin tags and diabetes. In fact, skin tags have been considered a marker of diabetes.
Other disorders that may cause skin tags
An increased frequency of skin tags has also been reported in association with different disorders such as acromegaly, a disorder caused by excessive production of growth hormone, colonic polyps, and Birt-Hogg-Dube syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that affects the skin and lungs and increases the risk of certain type of tumors. vii
Several studies have suggested that skin tags may be a useful and reliable marker for the presence of colonic polyps and may serve as an important advance in the prevention of colorectal cancers.viii However, the results of a recent study refute the theory that an association of skin tags and colonic polyps actually exits.
Should I Worry About My Skin Tags?
No. You should not worry about your skin tags since they are usually benign, non-cancerous growths. Rarely does a skin tag ever become cancerous.
However, if you have skin tags in colossal numbers or on obvious visible body parts like the eyelids and neck they can be aesthetically undesirable and can affect your overall self esteem and well being. In such circumstances, consider having them removed.
Finally, it is always best to try and determine the cause of skin tags, just in case they are an indicator of another health issue that needs treatment.
Skin Tags References
i Banik R, Lubach D: Skin tags: localization and frequencies according to sex and age. Dermatologica 1987; 174:180-183.
ii Eley KA, Pleat JM, Wall SA. Reconstruction of a congenital nasal deformity using skin tags as chondrocutaneous composite graft. J Craniofac Surg 2009; 20: 573-575.
iii Dianzani C, Calvieri S, Pierangeli A, et al. The detection of human papillomavirus DNA in skin tags. Br J Dermatol 1998; 138: 649-651.
iv Rasi A, Soltani-Arabshahi R, Shahbazi N. Skin tag as a cutaneous marker for impaired carbohydrate metabolism: a case-control study. Intl J Dermatol 2007; 46: 1155-1159.
v Yosipovitch G, DeVore A, Dawn A. Obesity and the skin: Skin physiology and skin manifestations of obesity. J Am Acad Dermatol June 2007.
vi F as in fat: how obesity policies are failing in America 2005. Trust for America’s Health. Available at http://healthyamericans.org/reports/obesity2005/.
vii Klein I, Parveen G, Gavaler JS, Van Thiel DH. Colonic polyps in patients with acromegaly. Ann Intern Med 1982; 97: 27-30.
viii Chobanian SJ, Van Ness MM, Winters C Jr, Cattau EL Jr. Skin tags as a marker for adenomatous polyps of the colon. Ann Intern Med 1985; 103: 892-893.
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