This is the first in a series of blogs addressing the question many of you have: What is That? Maybe you noticed some type of growth or patch on your skin and you are wondering what it is. Perhaps at another doctor’s visit they saw something and told you what they thought it was. So while we are in no way encouraging self-diagnosis, or Google diagnosing for that matter, you may wonder what things are and what these terms really mean. While we make every effort to make sure that our patients understand what we see on their skin, there are times when the explanation does not stay with you or you just want more plain speak about what things are. That is the goal of this series.
In this blog we will discuss Skin Tags which while not terribly glamorous, are a very common type of “growth” from your skin. They are rarely dangerous. They are extremely common and are often not something that you can prevent. Many people will have a skin tag at some time in their life time and a dermatologist can help you with this issues.
Skin tags are a normal degenerative change in skin. Simply put, it is an extra piece of skin that comes off the surface and hangs there. Skin tags most commonly occur under your arms, under your bra, neck, in skin folds, or can really be anywhere that you have repeated friction. They are not dangerous and not cancerous. The only medical reason for removal would be if the area is getting infected. Most often we remove skin tags for cosmetic purposes or if it is in an area where it just gets in the way or bothers you. There is really nothing you can do to prevent skin tags. Why do you get skin tags? Genetics play a role, the way you are shaped, and your weight can be the factors in addition to repeated friction in the area.
Removal of skin tags is relatively simple. In general we remove them by cutting them off without or with anesthesia, depending on the number, site and size of those being removed. After removal, the area requires little wound care; possibly just a little local antibiotic ointment. And while they do not grow back, you may get new ones in similar areas because that is where you are prone to get them. As there is no medical reason to get rid of skin tags, insurance does not cover them but removal is very reasonable priced.
So the next time you see something on your skin and wonder “what is that” contact our office and make an appointment to see one of our dermatologists or physician assistant. We can not only tell you what it is but also guide you through treatment. Check back to our blog for more editions of “What is That”.