Acrochorda or skin tags are small, harmless, benign skin tumors
or growths, usually formed in areas where the skin forms creases or folds, such as the eyelids, neck, armpits, groin, or beneath the breast in females. Skin tags look like small, soft balloons hanging from the skin. The medical terms used to use to describe a skin tag include cutaneous fibro-epithelial polyp, acrochordon, cutaneous papilloma
, and soft fibroma.
tags are harmless and characteristically painless, benign tumors and do not grow over time even if left untreated. Skin tags may be as small as the size of a pinhead to as big as 5cm in diameter. They are commonly the size of a grain of rice.
Acrochorda may also form in unusual places such as penis, scrotum and penis tip in men. However, a biopsy is recommended for skin-tags in genital areas to rule out sexually transmitted viral conditions like genital warts
More than half of the general population is reported to have been affected by Acrochorda during their lifetime. Skin tags may affect anyone, at anytime of their life, more often in adults and older people above 60 years of age. Obese
, middle-aged adults are most prone to skin tags than non-obese people.
Even young children and toddlers may get skin-tags over the eyelids, mostly where they rub their eyes.
A person may have anything from just one to more than 100 skin tags.Causes of Acrochordon
There is no known cause of acrochordon and may occur to anyone for no reason. However, recent research studies have shown the existence of low-risk HPV
6 and 11 in the skin tags hinting at their possible role in causing acrochorda.Treatment of Acrochordon
Treatment is unnecessary in most cases of skin-tags, unless the tags become irritating, if they snag on clothing or jewellery and cause bleeding, or show any other serious cosmetic or medical concern. Some small tags fall-off on their own or can be removed by simple shaving razors. However, larger tags are removed by a cosmetic surgeon
or general surgeon and may require local anesthesia
. An eye specialist (ophthalmologist) is often referred to remove tags very close to the eyelids
. The treatment includes:•
Tying off the skin-tag at its narrow base with a piece of dental floss
Freezing the skin-tag with liquid nitrogen.•
Burning the tag under medical supervision using electric cautery or electro-desiccation.•
Removing skin-tags by cryosurgery
or excision with knife or scissors, with or without anesthetics.