Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Skin Tags Aren't Dangerous, Just Unsightly

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Skin Tags Aren't Dangerous, Just Unsightly

Article excerpt

DEAR DOCTOR K: I have skin tags under my armpits. Are they dangerous? How can I remove them? What can I do to keep them from coming back?

DEAR READER: I've had many patients ask me the same question. They've just noticed this little ball of skin sticking out from someplace on their body, and of course they're concerned it could be cancer. Fortunately, it's not, and it never will be.

Skin tags are common; about a quarter of all people develop them. Usually when you first notice a skin tag, it's actually been there for some time, slowly growing.

A skin tag is a soft, skin-colored growth. Skin tags typically appear as people age. A skin tag at first may appear as a tiny, soft bump on the skin. Over time, it grows into a flesh-colored piece of skin that hangs from the surface of the skin on a thin piece of tissue called a stalk. It's easy to move or wiggle a skin tag back and forth.

Skin tags probably develop in response to irritation. That's why they appear most often in skin folds of the neck, armpits, torso, beneath the breasts or in the groin region -- areas where the skin tends to get irritated. These areas often generate multiple skin tags during a person's lifetime. Get rid of one, and a new one may start next year.

Many people develop multiple skin tags, and a tendency to develop skin tags may run in families. …

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