Skin Tags

Skin tags are a very common occurrence and not typically a concern for your skin’s health. However, it is still beneficial to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist to check on any new growths you may notice on your skin, and it is possible to have skin tags removed for cosmetic reasons or to relieve discomfort from catching on clothing or friction. If you notice a persistent bump or skin tag, schedule an appointment with Dr. Damstetter at Reserve Dermatology in Glenview, IL.

What are Skin Tags?

Skin tags are a common type of growth on the skin which appear as a small, soft stalk of skin. These growths are typically painless and are most common on areas where the skin rubs on itself, such as the neck, chest, underarms, or eyelids. Patients are more likely to develop skin tags if they are over 50 years old, though they frequently occur in patients of any age. Skin tags do not require treatment unless painful or bleeding, but you can seek care from a dermatologist if you wish to have these removed.

What Causes Skin Tags?

The exact cause of skin tags is unknown. However, it is believed that frequent friction may cause skin tags, as they more commonly develop in skin folds such as the underarms. Patients may also be genetically more likely to develop skin tags, as they seem to run in families. Finally, skin tags are more likely alongside other medical conditions, including pregnancy, insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes. Skin tags are not contagious or dangerous to your health.

Skin Tag Symptoms

Skin tags present no symptoms aside from the growth itself. In some cases, however, patients may find that the skin tag becomes irritated due to friction or catching on clothing or jewelry. Rarely does the skin tag get twisted on itself, leading to intense swelling or pain.

Your Expert

Liz Damstetter, MD

Board-Certified Dermatologist

Skin Tag Treatment

If you notice a new skin tag, it is best to have it examined by a dermatologist. In some cases, precancerous moles can resemble skin tags, so it is best to bring them up during your regular skin check appointment. A visual examination is typically sufficient to diagnose a skin tag, however, Dr. Damstetter may suggest a biopsy if any suspicious signs are present.

It is not necessary to remove skin tags, but you can choose to do so. Avoid attempting to remove a skin tag at home, as this can pose a risk of infection. Instead, schedule an appointment with a dermatologist who can safely and effectively remove the growth.

Skin tag removal can be done through either cauterization, which involves burning the skin, cryosurgery, which involves freezing the skin using liquid nitrogen, or surgical (aka “snip”) removal. In any case, the skin may be numbed using a topical or local anesthetic if necessary. Following your skin tag removal, Dr. Damstetter will provide instructions to care for the area to avoid infection and encourage proper healing. A small scar is possible after skin tag removal.

Schedule an Appointment

If you notice a skin tag and wish to have it examined or removed, schedule an appointment with Dr. Damstetter. Call Reserve Dermatology in Glenview Illinois or contact us online to set up your first appointment.

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