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
What else could it be?
While classic skin tags are typically very characteristic in appearance and occur in specific locations such as the underarms, necks, under breasts, eyelids and groin folds, there are tags that may occur in less obvious locations.
Other skin growths that may look similar to a skin tag but are not tags include moles (dermal nevus), nerve and fiber-type moles (neurofibromas), warts, and "barnacles" or the so-called "Rice Krispies" (seborrheic keratosis).
Warts tend to be rougher, with a "warty" irregular surface whereas skin tags are usually smooth. Warts tend to be flat whereas tags are more like bumps hanging from thin stalk. While warts are almost entirely caused by human papilloma virus (HPV), tags are only sometimes associated with HPV.
Groin and genital lesions resembling skin tags may actually be genital warts or condyloma. A biopsy would help diagnose which of these growths are not skin tags. Very rarely, a basal cell skin or squamous cancer or melanoma may mimic a skin tag, but this is very uncommon.
Are there vaginal skin tags?
While typical skin tags are not usually seen in the vagina or in other moist, mucosal surfaces, there are other types of benign polyps that occur in these areas. Irritation polyps or soft fibromas may occur on vaginal areas, mouth, and anal skin. Skin tags most commonly occur on dry skin like the neck, armpits, and groin folds. Genital warts, which are growths caused by a sexually transmitted virus HPV, need to be considered in the possible diagnosis for growths in genital areas.
Skin tags may infrequently occur at the external genitalia like the labia majora and labia minora. These growths may be caused by normal friction from underwear, panty liners or feminine sanitary products, sexual activity, or masturbation. Again, sexually transmitted viral conditions like genital warts may need to be ruled out by tissue biopsy of growths in this area.
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