Skin tags are small flesh or brown colored pieces of skin that hang in various areas of the body. They are not harmful and do not cause symptoms. However, the surrounding area of skin can become irritated if it is picked at or rubbed constantly. Skin tags are directly attached to the body by a thin stalk. They can develop anywhere but are most commonly found: on the eyelids, under the breasts, in the groin area, armpits, the upper chest and the neck. About 25% of adults develop at least one skin tag.
Skin tags are the result of a buildup of collagen and blood vessels within thicker parts of the skin. They are believed to develop as a result of the skin rubbing against itself. That’s why skin tags are so often found in areas of the body that have natural creases, such as the underarm area, and also why they are more common among overweight and obese individuals. The tendency to develop skin tags may also have a genetic component. Additionally, they are more common among older adults, individuals with diabetes and pregnant women. Still others, including children, develop skin tags for no apparent reason.
The removal of a skin tag is considered a cosmetic procedure. Still many patients opt to have them removed. Skin tags under the arm can interfere with shaving and many find them aesthetically unattractive. Removal is quick and painless. There are also several methods. Your dermatologist will decide which is best, depending on the size and location of your skin tag. Methods include:
• Snipping the tag off with surgical scissors or a scalpel.
• Freezing it off with a quick swab or spray of liquid nitrogen.
• Burning the tag off.