Skin tags are OK and normal

courtesy of Jkemp wikipedia contributor
courtesy of Jkemp wikipedia contributor

So what are skin tags (acrochordons)?  Skin tags are little outpouchings of skin.  They commonly occur on the armpit, around the neck and by the groin/upper thigh area.  These are very common growths among adults.

What are they not?  Skin tags are NOT cancer.  They’re also not contagious.

Should you remove your skin tag?  Since the skin tag is not dangerous, you can leave it be. However, sometimes skin tags become annoying (e.g. get caught on jewelry, clothing, etc), and you might want to get them removed.

How are skin tags removed?  Your doctor can remove your skin tag with clean sterile scissors or with a scalpel.  She/he may also freeze your skin tag with liquid nitrogen cryotherapy.  There are various home remedies as well; but be careful and use at you own risk!

What is a board-certified dermatologist?

You may have noticed the term “board-certified dermatologist” on various dermatology clinic and hospital websites.  What does board-certified mean?

The American Board of Dermatology certifies a certain number of new dermatologists each year.  In addition, it requires dermatologists to keep up with various steps to maintain certification throughout the dermatologist’s career.  This helps to maintain the quality of dermatologists to properly serve patients and the public.

Board-certified dermatologists have passed the American Board Exam in Dermatology, a rigorous full day examination held once each year (and currently taking place this week and next in Tampa, Florida).  They have also completed medical school, a year of training in medicine or surgery, and at least 3 years of an accredited dermatology residency program.  They have met the requirements to receive a full license to practice medicine in their state.  Additionally, there are several other requirements.  As one proceed’s in one’s career, there are other requirements to continue assessments of knowledge and competency, continuing education, quality improvement in one’s practice, etc.

Whereas anyone who is a doctor seeing skin could theoretically decide to call her/himself a dermatologist, a board-certified dermatologist must complete all of the rigorous steps above, ensuring a higher level of quality.