Skin tags are also referred to as acrochordon, cutaneous tag, fibroepithelial polyp, cutaneous papilloma, fibroma pendulum, fibroma molluscum, papilloma colli and soft fibroma. It is little tag of skin which may possess a stalk (peduncle). These appear on the skin as tiny hanging pieces of skin.
Skin tags are usually composed of the nerve cells, fat cells, core of fibres or ducts and of a skin covering or epidermis layer. According to the report of NIH ( National Institute of Health )USA, almost 46% of the people develop skin tags.
Skin tags can occur on any body part or surface of the skin but usually they appear in areas where skin rubs frequently against skin like;
- Axillae (armpits)
- Under the breasts
- Upper chest
Skin tags do not pose any harm or danger. They are the benign, non-cancerous outgrowths of skin which do not have any symptoms unless they are rubbed or scratched repeatedly as it may occur due to clothing, shaving or wearing jewellery. If skin tags are large, they may even burst due to pressure.
Appearance of Skin Tags
Some people may develop skin tags and they may have fallen off or rubbed off without any pain and they may not even notice them. However in majority of the cases, they do not fall.
The skin tag may have a smooth or irregular surface and are usually raised off from the skin’s surface having fleshy stalks (peduncles). They normally have colour of our flesh or may be slightly brownish in colour. At initial stage, they are very small and flattened like pinhead. The diameter of skin tags may range from 2mm to 1 cm and some may even reach the size of 5cm.
As the skin tags appear most commonly in the creases and folds of skin, so they may be caused due to the frequent rubbing of skin against skin.
Causes of skin tags
The skin tags are a very commonly seen and normally appear after the midlife. The cause of the skin tags formation is said to be bunches of collagen and blood vessels that are trapped within the thicker skin bits.
Skin tags are most commonly observed in;
- Overweight and obese people possibly because they possess more skin folds and creases due to fatty deposits.
- Pregnant women possibly due to hormonal changes
- People suffering from diabetes
- People having the human papilloma virus (low-risk HPV 6 and 11)
- People using illegal steroids that interferes with the muscles in the body which cause the bonding of collagen fibres, leading to the formation of skin tags.
- People having genetic traces of skin tags development.
Though skin tags are harmless and quite common, they may still be a cause of irritation and discomfort while giving an unpleasant look to the area where they appear especially on eyelids or in the neck area. They may cause bleeding during shaving.