Answers to the Most Common Questions and Concerns
The presence of skin tags is one very few people enjoy. Although this is one of the most common skin ailments in the United States, it's also one of the most misunderstood. Chances are you, or someone you know, has at least one skin tag. And while the formation of new skin growths is a cause of concern, the more you understand about this condition, the greater your ability to eliminate these growths. The following questions and answers are some of the most common faced by dermatologists. While upon reading the answers, you'll hold a greater understanding of this condition, if you notice your skin tags change shape, color or become painful, it's imperative to visit your physician or dermatologist. In rare cases, these alterations can be a sign of a more sinister problem.
Q | What is a Skin Tag?
A | Skin tags are benign (not harmful) growths of skin, which typically appear as flesh-colored balloons. They are considered to be an accumulation of collagen fibers, dense skin cells, nerve endings and blood vessels. They're typically located along skin folds, creases or in locations where clothing constantly rubs against the skin, such as on your waist or underarms.
Q | Who Gets Skin Tags?
A | The short answer: almost everyone. In fact, nearly 46 percent of the United States population features one or more skin tags at any given time. Although there is no solid evidence clarifying the exact cause or risk factors of developing skin tags, it seems they may be hereditary. People who are obese, diabetic or over the age of 60 seem to have a greater likelihood of developing these harmless skin lesions. Preliminary evidence suggests the hormonal changes during pregnancy can be a contributing factor for its growth.
Q | Will More Growths Occur When I Remove a Skin Tag?
A | This is a common misconception. There is no scientific evidence suggesting the removal of skin tags results in the proliferation of more growths. The pathology of these growths does not suggest these growths “seed,” which means after removal new lesions take its place. In some people, new growths are completely normal. In fact, many adults have annual or periodic removal treatments to eradicate newly formed skin tags.
Q | Are Skin Tags Contagious?
A | There is no evidence suggesting you can “catch” skin tags from human contact. The likelihood of catching skin tags or transmitting them to another person is almost non-existent. Do not misinterpret skin tags for warts. Warts are caused by the HPV virus, and are highly contagious. While preliminary data has found select skin tags to contain the harmless HPV-6 or HPV-11 virus, this does not suggest all skin tags are a product of a viral infection.
Q | How Do Physicians Remove Skin Tags?
A | If you chose to have a dermatologist remove your skin tags, the procedure is slightly invasive; however, results are instant. There are several common removal methods used by most physicians or dermatologists. These include:
- Lancing the skin tag with a sharp scalpel or scissors
- Freezing with liquid nitrogen
- Burning with a medical electric cautery
Q | Will My Insurance Cover Removal Treatments?
A | Unless the skin tag poses a serious health threat, such as one that appears to be changing and/or growing, most insurance providers do not cover removal treatments. The majority of insurance policies consider skin tag removal a cosmetic procedure. Therefore, it's not covered under its clauses. However, if a dermatologist recommends removal due to the potential of a more serious medical conditions, your insurance provider may cover part or all of the procedure.
Q | Are Natural Remedies Effective Options?
A | Although it's difficult to say exactly how effective natural remedies are at removing skin tags, because people respond differently to the same remedy, in the most general sense – yes. There are numerous homeopathic treatments designed to eradicate skin tags through topical application of liquid oils, creams and soaps. Naturasil offers a variety of tested and effective homeopathic skin tag removal products.