Skin Tags

In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan.


Skin tags, also known as 'acrochordons,' are commonly seen cutaneous growths noticeable as soft excrescences of heaped up skin and are usually benign by nature. Estimates are that almost 50 to 60% of adults will develop at least one of these harmless growths in their lifetime, with the probability of their occurrence increasing after the fourth decade of life. However, at the very outset, it should be noted that acrochordons occur more commonly in individuals suffering from obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome (MeTS), and in people with a family history of skin tags. Skin tags affect men and women equally.

Acrochordons may appear as early as the teenage years but are most common in the latter part of life. However, many studies have reported that the incidence of skin tags in children and adolescents is increasing. The latter seems to be in concert with the global rise in the incidence of childhood and teenage obesity. Skin tags, on the other hand, are rare after the seventh decade of life. These lesions tend to grow in areas where there are skin folds, such as the axilla, neck, eyelids, and groin. The lesions are skin-colored, brown, and even red ovoid growths that are often pedunculated and attached to a fleshy stalk. Skin tags are small, between 1 and 5 mm, but rarely can grow to be 1 to 2 centimeters in size. Acrochordons are not painful or tender but can be troublesome all the same. People frequently complain of skin tags getting caught on clothing or jewelry like necklaces. Sometimes the constant friction between the garments and the skin tag may result in bleeding or itching.

Certain genetic disorders may have a predisposition to skin tags. In patients with the Birt-Hogg-Dube (BHD) syndrome and tuberous sclerosis. in addition to other cutaneous and systemic features, acrochordons may be seen in large numbers, often forming a 'necklace' like configuration around the neck- referred to as the 'molluscum pendulum necklace sign.'

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