Skin Tags: Should They Be Removed?

Medical Author: Melissa Conrad Stoppler, MD
Medical Editor: William C. Shiel, Jr, MD, FACP, FACR

A friend of mine has a history of basal cell carcinoma (a benign type of skin cancer), and recently we were discussing skin protection from the sun. We then began discussing what types of skin surface abnormalities should be checked by a doctor, and which ones are very common and are in general, not a concern.

The discussion boiled down to: how does she (or for that matter you as a viewer), determine whether it is a mole, actinic keratosis, or skin tag? And what types of skin abnormalities should you be concerned about?

Skin tags are one such skin abnormality, and they are also very common. Skin tags - small portions of skin that appear to be attached to or protrude from normal skin - are a common benign condition of the skin. Usually just a few millimeters in diameter, skin tags vary in appearance. Some are the same color as surrounding skin while others are hyperpigmented (darker than surrounding skin). In most cases, they are attached to the underlying skin by a small band of tissue called a stalk or peduncle.

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