Skin tags are small, fleshy skin outgrowths that look like warts. A skin tag also resembles a nipple. The medical name for skin tags is acrochorda (singular: acrochordon).
Acrochordon is sometimes referred to as fibroepithelial polyp or cutaneous skin tag.
Acrochoda are very common. More than 50% of human beings suffer from acrochorda at some point in their lives. Acrochoda affects both men and women; however, they are more prevalent among women.
They tend to occur in skin folds such as the armpits, neck and genitals. In women, acrochorda frequently occurs under the breasts. Other skin creases, in which, tags are likely to appear include: eyelids, natal cleft, umbilicus, face, between the fingers, between the toes, nasal cavity, groin and vagina.
Fibroepithelial polyps can occur at any age; however, their prevalence increases with age. They are more common in middle age people and the frequency of occurrence increases as people approach 60. When tags occur in children and toddlers, the tags usually affect their necks or armpits.
Biopsy is a medical procedure, in which, a sample of the skin is cut off and subjected to clinical tests.
When biopsy is performed on a skin tag, the tag is found to consist of a fibro-vascular core. Sometimes, the core contains fatty cells.
The surface of an acrochordon may be smooth, but it is usually irregular. It is usually just as irregular as the surface of a nipple. The typical acrochordon is less than 1cm long; however, they might attain heights of 5cm. The stalk, from which, the tumor projects is called peduncle.
Causes of Skin Tags
Researchers postulate that acrochorda results from skin rubbing against skin. This theory seems very plausible; given that, acrochorda tends to occur in skin creases and folds.
This theory would also explain; why, acrochorda is more common among overweight and obese people. Overweight people have more skin folds i.e. areas where skin chafing and friction occur more frequently.
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Fibroepithelial polyps do not appear at birth; yet, some studies suggest that, they are congenital. Strong evidence has not yet been established to prove a definite genetic causal component.
Biopsies conducted on acrochorda samples have revealed the presence do low-risk HPV 6 and 11. HPV stands for Human Papillomavirus. The presence of HPV 6 and 11 suggest that, they may play a role in the pathogenesis of the skin condition.
Generally, skin tags are not comorbid.
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On rare occasions, eczema co-occurs with acrochorda. Some studies suggest that eczema triggers acrochorda. Other infections that co-occur with acrochorda include: Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome, acromegaly and polycystic ovary syndrome.
Treatment of Skin Tags
Fibroepithelial polyps are basically harmless and do not require treatment. On very rare occasions, acrochorda itch and irritate. These are very rare occasion when, they occur on moist surfaces like the vagina.
Most of the time, people opt to treat their acrochorda because of esthetic reasons. Some people find even a single skin tag on their face, too unsightly to bear. This might provoke a profound self-esteem crisis, especially in women.
Skin Tags Treatment
Your dermatologist disposes of several techniques to treat the condition. The most widely used techniques include: cauterization, cryosurgery, excision or surgical ligation.
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