What Are Skin Tags?
Skin tags are small growths that hang from your skin. They are small – usually only a few millimetres – and are usually brown or pink in colour. They are made up of excess collagen fibres and small blood vessels. Skin tags are very common and often don’t cause any discomfort. However, if they sometimes catch on clothing or jewellery, they can bleed easily. Often people also find them unsightly.
Skin tags can affect anyone. They are most likely to develop in areas where the skin folds or creases, making them more common among overweight individuals. They can also have a hereditary component, and people with diabetes or those who are pregnant may be more prone to them. Some individuals may just be prone to developing them for reasons that aren’t yet clear.
Skin tags typically appear flesh-coloured but may take on a brown hue if you are fair-skinned. If they have a stalk that attaches them to the underlying skin, they can look very distinctive, but very small skin tags may appear as raised bumps similar to moles.
Why Are Skin Tags Treated?
While skin tags are generally harmless, some people choose to have them removed for cosmetic or comfort reasons. Skin tags in prominent or irritating locations, such as the neck or underarms, may be removed to enhance one’s appearance or prevent discomfort caused by friction with clothing or jewellery.
Diagnosing Skin Tags
They are typically diagnosed based on their appearance. A specialist Doctor or Surgeon can easily identify them during an in-person consultation. Our clinic also offers a free online consultation where our surgical team will assess photos you send to us and, if possible, make a diagnosis from them.
In some cases, a Doctor may use a dermatoscope to closely examine the lesion. The magnified view aids in confirming the diagnosis.
Skin Tag Removal Options
- Laser Removal: A specialist surgical laser destroys the skin tag without opening the skin. Our clinic uses CO2RE carbon dioxide lasers to remove thousands of skin lesions each year.
- Hyfrecator: An electrical pulse is used to damage the unwanted cells while simultaneously cauterising the wound.
- Surgical Excision: This involves carefully cutting away the skin tag with a scalpel before the wound is stitched neatly.
Regardless of the chosen removal method, the procedure is short and carried out under local anaesthetic.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What happens when you remove a skin tag at home? Skin tags have lots of small blood vessels so can bleed easily. The other main risks are infection in the wound, incomplete removal and scarring.
- Can a skin tag grow back? Skin tags don’t grow back, but new ones may form in the future if your skin is susceptible to them.
- Are skin tags contagious? Skin tags aren’t contagious.A mole is one of the most common types of skin lesion. Nearly everyone has one or more on their skin. Most are benign, though they can be unsightly.