At Treiber Dermatology, dermatologists like Dr. Eric Treiber see countless patients everyday. From bumps and scrapes to moles and pimples, patients come in with irritations of all sorts. Having a keen eye is imperative in Dr. Eric Treiber’s profession, as he must determine which issues are worth investigating and which are simply the product of bad shaving technique. Often times patients come in, worried, about what they have deemed to be a cancerous growth somewhere on their body. Most of these patients have what is known as a ‘Skin Tag’.
A ‘Skin Tag’, or acrochordon, is generally a harmless overgrowth of benign skin cells. These growths, despite appearing similar to cancerous growths, are fairly harmless. Dr. Treiber estimates that over half the population is affected by such growths, often times going unnoticed by individuals entirely. They tend to form in areas where skin creases, such as the neck, breasts, armpits and groin. This is the main reason they tend to worry people, as they appear in the same area as cancerous growths.
Although skin tags affect over half the population there are certain groups more likely to be affected. Women are particularly more susceptible, especially during pregnancy or times or hormonal stress. Also, the elderly, and those who are overweight or obese tend to have more skin tags. Genetics, however, are the most common means of predicting skin tags. They tend to run in families, passed down through the generations.
Skin tags, are usually small, round or oval shaped and hang off the skin. They aren’t dangerous, and don’t forecast skin cancer or any other diseases in later life. Any need for removal is purely cosmetic. Dr. Eric Treiber, however recommends having them removed, as they can enhance aesthetics and make it difficult to differentiate themselves from other growths over time. Dr. Treiber generally uses a scalpel to snip the skin tag off. The easiest method is through cryosurgery, freezing the growth before snipping it. Another method is by burning it off using electrolysis. Within a few minutes the procedure is completed and virtually painless. Dr. Eric Treiber recommends patients generally take 24 hours to let the area heal, and avoiding sun contact or direct contact.