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Skin Tags

Skin tags are annoying little overgrowths of normal skin which can itch and catch on things. They are completely benign. They are not infective so cannot be caught by anyone else.

They can occur around the eyelids, on the face, on the neck, the upper chest decollete area, under the breasts, in the armpits (axillae), and in the groin area at the top of the legs. These are all places where the skin can form creases. Sometimes there is a single skin tag, but very often they exist in multiples. Rarely do they drop off.

They tend to be very small, 1 to 4 mm long, smooth skin covered, raised away from the skin on a small “stalk” or pedicle. Very occasionally a much longer one can occur. They are very recognisable clinically.

Symptoms

Because they are raised from the skin and slightly elongated and on a “stalk” they can easily become irritated by friction such as blinking, neck flexion, rubbing by clothing and shaving (for instance under armpits).

They rarely hurt or bleed unless they have just been caught on something or damaged when shaving under the armpit for instance.

Examination

Around the eyelids:
If the skin tags are around the eyes or face the oculoplastic surgeon will examine the little skin tags, confirm what they are and advise whether they can be gently removed under local anaesthetic.

On the face, neck, trunk, or in the armpits or groin:
If the skin tags are on the rest of the face, the neck, décolletage area, under the breasts or in the armpits or groin, the dermatologist, with the nurse present, will examine those areas, confirm the diagnosis, and advise on the best dermatology treatment for you, whether it be cryotherapy, removal by curettage, or cautery.

Skin Tags 1

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