Skin Tag (cont.)
Gary W. Cole, MD, FAAD
Dr. Cole is board certified in dermatology. He obtained his BA degree in bacteriology, his MA degree in microbiology, and his MD at the University of California, Los Angeles. He trained in dermatology at the University of Oregon, where he completed his residency.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- Skin tag facts
- What is a skin tag?
- Where do skin tags occur?
- Who tends to get skin tags?
- Will removing a skin tag cause more to grow?
- Is a skin tag a tumor?
- Are skin tags contagious?
- What does a skin tag look like under a microscope?
- What problems do skin tags cause?
- How are skin tags treated?
- Does medical insurance cover skin tag removal?
- Do any creams remove skin tags?
- Should I worry about cutting my skin tag by shaving?
- Do skin tags need to be sent for biopsy?
- Are there vaginal skin tags?
- Can you get skin tags on the penis and scrotum?
- What happens when a skin tag suddenly turns purple or black?
- What else could it be?
- Is there another medical name for a skin tag?
- Pictures of Adult Skin Problems - Slideshow
- Gallery of Skin Problems Pictures and Images Collection
- Pictures of Child Skin Problems - Slideshow
- Find a local Dermatologist in your town
What does a skin tag look like under a microscope?
Laboratory preparation of the tissue is required before looking at the skin tag under the microscope. The skin is stained with a stain called hematoxylin and eosin ("H&E"). Under the microscope, there is a colored spherical tissue attached to a small stalk. The purple outer layer (epidermis) overlies a pink core (dermis).
The outer layer of the skin (the epidermis) shows overgrowth of normal skin (hyperplasia), and it encloses an underlying layer of skin (the dermis) in which the normally present collagen fibers appear abnormally loose and swollen. Usually there are no hairs, moles, or other skin structures present in skin tags.
While the majority of skin tags that are removed are discarded into special medical waste containers, sometimes tissue is sent for microscopic exam by a specialist physician known as a pathologist, who will determine the exact diagnosis and determine whether an abnormality such as skin cancer is present. Irregular skin growths that are larger, bleed, or have an unusual presentation may require pathology examination to make sure there are no irregular cells or skin cancers.
Some common skin conditions that can mimic skin tags include seborrheic keratosis, moles, warts, cysts, milia, neurofibromas, and nevus lipomatosus. Rarely, skin cancers like basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and malignant melanoma may mimic skin tags.
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