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!

Does pregnancy affect your skin?

You bet it does. Many changes happen to your body when you’re pregnant. Your blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing change. Makes sense that pregnancy affects your skin as well.

So how does pregnancy affect your skin?

Here are some things that can happen:

Hyperpigmentation – You may notice areas of your skin becoming darker than your normal skin tone

Melasma – Melasma is also known as the “mask of pregnancy.” It often presents as blotchy dark areas of the face, most commonly over the cheeks.

Hair loss or hair growth – Yes, both hair loss or hair growth (hirsutism) can occur.  Hair loss can be temporary, but may also be permanent in that the hair does nt grow back.  Hair growth often affects individuals with a personal or family history of increased hair growth.

Changes in the nails – Changes can include brittleness, appearance of lines in the nail, lifting of the nail, or accumulation of material under the nail

Changes to the nipples – The nipples may become bumpy, reflecting enlargement of the glands

Stretch marks – Pregnancy is accompanied by weight gain and stretching of the skin. Stretch marks (“striae”) may be skin colored, pinkish or purplish.

Red spots – These may represent collections of vessels called spider angiomas or, some people get redness of the palms (“palmar erythema”). Veins can become enlarged and lumpy as well (“varicose veins”).

Changes in the mouth – Gums may become enlarged or bumpy.

Leg swelling – You can retain fluid and the feet, ankles and legs may be affected.

Acne – Acne can get worse or better!  It’s hard to predict whose acne improves, and whose goes downhill.

Skin tags: benign but potentially unsightly

courtesy of Jkemp wikipedia contributor
Skin tags are more fancily referred to as acrochordon or fibroepithelial polyps (quite a mouthful!) They’re benign outpouchings of skin which aren’t much of a bother except when they get caught on necklaces, bra straps, clothing, etc. or when their presence starts to bother you. They can be skin colored or have some color to them. Often, they’re located around the neck, armpits or upper thigh areas. They can also be found on the face including the eyelids. They are easily treated though by your dermatologist. He/She can freeze these growths with liquid nitrogen, burn them with a cautery device, or cut them off with a scissor or scalpel. Sometimes, some lidocaine anesthetic will be injected before cutting them off. Because skin tags are benign, removal is not considered a medical necessity, so chances are removal will not be covered by your insurance.