Acrochordons is a more formal and complicated way of describing the common, benign growths most of us know as skin tags. While this fancy name may make them seem more serious and scary, there is really no cause for concern when it comes to this particular skin condition. Skin tags are never malignant nor are they connected with any other more serious condition. They are one of the most common and least threatening conditions in the world of dermatology.
Skin tags should be very familiar as almost everyone will develop at least one and sometimes as many as one hundred during the course of their life. They are benign growths that resemble tiny balloons hanging from a very narrow neck or stem. They occur most commonly on the neck, in the groin folds, under the breasts, around the eyes and in the armpits. They are more common in obese individuals, but can develop on almost anyone.
They are generally soft, smooth and flesh colored but can sometimes become darker in color if the blood supply is suddenly cut off. Usually, when this happens the skin tag spontaneously falls off within a few days. They can range in size from just 2 mm (the size of the average pin head) to 5 cm, or the size of a fig. Unlike some skin disorders, including skin cancer, the size of a skin tag does not suggest increased severity. They remain completely benign regardless of size or color.
What causes skin tags to develop?
Though they are quite common, the exact cause of skin tags is not known. Medical findings have proven that there is some genetic link, as skin tags tend to run in families. Beyond this link, however, there is no specific medical cause for these growths.
What we do know is that skin tags tend to occur most often in areas that are prone to excess friction, such as skin folds or creases. For this reason, it seems that increased friction is a contributing cause to their development. This is also the reason that obese individuals, who tend to have more skin folds than the average person, are known to develop them more frequently than most. While skin tags are more common among adults, babies who are chubby can also develop them, most prominently in the folds of the neck.
Do they need to be treated?
Because they are benign and cause no complications, there is usually no treatment necessary for skin tags. If they become sore from rubbing clothing or jewelry or if you find them unsightly, they can be removed surgically. There are several acceptable methods for removal including snipping them with scissors, tying dental floss around the stem until the tag drops off on its own or having them frozen or burned off by a dermatologist.
In most cases, removal is easy and painless with some localized bleeding as the only known side effect. Healing is usually complete in a week or two. Keep in mind that new skin tags may form even if all existing tags are removed, which is nothing to worry about.
Some people have their skin tags disappear if they take chromium picolinate 200 mcg twice a day, which can be found in a specialty supplement such as Total Balance. The trace element is also available at health food and drug stores without a prescription.
Chromium polynicotinate can also be taken and is sold under the name Natrol ChromeMate. This mineral must be taken for 3 months to see the results and if you stop taking the chromium the tags will likely recur.
The bottom line is whether you have one skintag or dozens, they are nothing to worry about and do not need to be addressed unless they are bothering you. If so, ask your dermatologist about your options as far as removal is concerned.