A skin tag (acrochordon) is a small, soft piece of flesh-colored or dark tissue that is attached to the surface of the skin by a connecting "stalk." Most skin tags develop over time, although some people are born with them. Skin tags typically affect people who are overweight, have diabetes, or are older than 40.
Although they are almost always benign and do not cause problems unless they are continuously irritated, many people choose to have them removed for precautionary or cosmetic purposes. Skin tags can itch and, because they can get caught in zippers, clothes or jewelry, sometimes bleed. They are not contagious.
Typical Skin-Tag Locations
Skin tags are common skin growths that can develop where clothing rubs against the skin, or the skin rubs against itself. They are typically found on the eyelids, neck and underarms, under the breasts, and in folds of skin on the groin, belly or buttocks.
Removing a skin tag is a simple in-office procedure that is usually performed by a dermatologist. Freezing, burning, and excision with scissors are three common methods of removing them. Small tags may be removed without using an anesthetic, although larger ones may require it. Depending upon the method used, skin-tag removal can cause temporary skin discoloration or bleeding. Occasionally, a skin tag falls off on its own. If a skin tag is surgically removed, it rarely regrows, although new skin tags can develop nearby or on other areas of skin.
Insurance companies consider skin-tag removal to be cosmetic in almost all cases, so typically do not reimburse for the cost of removing them.