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Cutaneous skin tags

Cutaneous skin tags are a skin condition involving small, generally benign skin growths. A skin tag is a common, benign condition which consists of a bit of skin that projects from the surrounding skin and may appear attached to the skin. Skin tags can vary quite a bit in appearance. They may be smooth or irregular, flesh colored or more deeply pigmented, and either

simply be raised above the surrounding skin or have a stalk (a peduncle) so that the skin tag hangs from the skin.

Skin tags at first may appear as tiny soft bumps on the skin. Over time, they grow into a flesh-colored piece of skin attached to the skin surface by a stalk. It's easy to move or wiggle skins tags back and forth. They are painless, although they can become irritated if they are rubbed a lot. Cutaneous tags are very common, benign skin growths that occur most often after midlife. They are tiny skin protrusions, and may have a small narrow stalk connecting the skin bump to the surface of the skin. They are usually painless and do not grow or change, except for occasional irritation from rubbing by clothing or other friction. Their origin is unknown. Skin tags can occur almost anywhere there is skin. However, favorite areas for tags are the eyelids, neck, armpits (axillae), upper chest, and groin. They are much more common with age beginning in middle age and they tend to be somewhat more prevalent in women than men.

Sometimes skin tags are given fancy dermatological names like acrochordans or papillomas, but really they are no more than tiny outpouchings of skin. Often they look like tiny moles on a stalk. They have a predilection for wrinkled skin or fold areas like the eyelid, neck, armpit and groin. Gaining weight predisposes to their development.

They can be annoying if they catch on clothing or rub against your collar. No treatment is necessary but they are easily removed by clipping the stalk flush against the skin. This is best performed with fine curved surgical scissors.

Doctors remove skin tags with sharp scissors, a sharp blade or, less commonly, by freezing or burning them off at the stalk. Bleeding can be stopped with a chemical (aluminum chloride) or electric (cauterizing) treatment.

Because skin tags are only of cosmetic concern, most health insurance plans will not pay for their removal.

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All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005, health-cares.net, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005