Skin Tag (cont.)
Nili N. Alai, MD, FAAD
Dr. Alai is an actively practicing medical and surgical dermatologist in south Orange County, California. She has been a professor of dermatology and family medicine at the University of California, Irvine since 2000. She is U.S. board-certified in dermatology, a 10-year-certified fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, and Fellow of the American Society of Mohs Surgery.
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
- 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?
- Skin Tag At A Glance
- 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
Does medical insurance cover skin tag removal?
Many if not all insurance carriers classify skin tags as cosmetic and therefore a self-pay treatment. In uncommon instances, documented medical necessity of suspicious growths or highly symptomatic growths may support payment for medical treatment of skin tags.
Do any creams remove skin tags?
There are no currently medically approved creams for the removal of skin tags. Skin tags are typically removed by physical methods like cutting off or tying off with dental floss. It is not advisable to use unapproved products like Dermasil, wart removers, essential oils, nail polish, toothpaste, or hair-removal creams like Neat or Nair. Trial uses of unapproved creams may cause irritation and possible secondary complications.
Should I worry about cutting my skin tag by shaving?
No. Skin tags are frequently and inadvertently shaved off while removing hair from the armpit either with a razor or by waxing. There is typically no harm done when small skin tags are removed by shaving.
Sometimes, even a small skin tag base may bleed for a while and require constant applied pressure for 10-15 minutes to stop bleeding. Skin infection is a rare possible complication of accidentally shaving off skin tags.
Do skin tags need to be sent for biopsy?
Most typical small skin tags may be removed without sending tissue for microscopic examination or biopsy.
However, there are some larger or atypical growths that may be removed and sent to a pathologist for examination under a microscope to make sure that the tissue is really a skin tag and nothing more. Additionally, skin bumps that have bled or rapidly changed may also need pathologic examination.
Some common skin tag look-alikes include benign lesions such as seborrheic keratosis, common moles, warts, neurofibroma, and a fatty mole called nevus lipomatosus. While extremely rare, there are a few reports of skin cancers found in skin tags. Skin cancers like basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and malignant melanoma may rarely mimic skin tags, as described above.
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