Skin Tags (Acrochordons)

One of the most common skin growths that people ask about in clinic are skin tags. The medical name for a skin tag is an acrochordon. Skin tags most commonly present as soft, flesh colored growths that favor the neck, armpits, and groin area. Sometimes people will only have one. Other times, people will have multiple skin tags. Most skin tags are asymptomatic, meaning that they do not cause the patient any problems. However, skin tags often get caught on clothes, get scratched, or become inflamed for other reasons. When they become irritated, they can become painful and occasionally bleed.

Skin tags become more prevalent with age. Men and women are equally affected. About 50% of all people have at least one skin tag. Past studies have linked skin tags to other growths and diseases like colon polyps and diabetes, however, more research is needed to confirm this.

For most patients, I reassure them that the skin tag is not harmful to them and that is all that is needed. When skin tags become painful, bleed, or are subject to repeated trauma, I usually select one of two treatment options. The first treatment option is cryotherapy. Cryotherapy is the use of liquid nitrogen to freeze and in turn destroy the skin tag tissue. They usually fall off over the next two to three weeks. When skin tags are larger or more persistent, I will use a local anesthetic called lidocaine to numb the area and use surgical scissors to remove the growth. Both methods are very effective and most all patients are very pleased with their outcomes.

Many patients ask me about what they can do for skin tags if they are not symptomatic (meaning more cosmetic). Unfortunately, most over-the-counter products are ineffective. The good news is that our clinic removes many skin tags cosmetically for a nominal fee. Due to skin tags not being harmful to your health, most insurance companies do not pay for routine removal.

If skin tags are a problem for you, we would be more than happy to take care of you at Advanced Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center. You may schedule an appointment with any of our excellent medical providers.

Bentonville: 701 NW McNelly Rd., Bentonville, AR 72712 (479-268-3555)

Fayetteville: 1444 E Stearns St., Fayetteville, AR 72703 (479-718-7546)

Harrison: 620 N Main, Harrison, AR 72601 (870-204-5279)

Ryan Crowder, MPAS, PA-C

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