WHAT CAUSES SKIN TAGS?

The most common causes that explain why you develop skin tags on areas of your body are the following:

  • Genetics
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy

SKIN TAGS SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

Skin tags are usually flesh-coloured or may appear brown if you have light skin. They are smooth or wrinkled and range in size from very tiny – 1 mm – to approximately the size of a grape. Although it is usually possible to recognize a stalk that attaches the skin tag to your underlying skin, very small skin tags may appear as raised bumps on your skin.

HOW CAN I PREVENT SKIN TAGS

You can minimise developing skin tags on your skin by following these tips:

  • Losing weight
  • Avoid eating saturated fats and sugar
  • Avoid wearing tight clothing

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What happens when you cut off a skin tag?

Before trying to remove your skin tag, you should speak first to your GP. Your General Practitioner may explain how to remove a skin tag by yourself only if your skin tag is small and with a narrow base.

Can a skin tag grow back?

Although the removed skin tag doesn’t grow back, new skin tags may form.

Are skin tags contagious?

There is no strong basis with regards to skin tags being contagious.

TREATMENTS FOR SKIN TAGS

At sk:n we use several techniques for skin tag removal. Upon your consultation your doctor will advise you of the best option for your individual case.

Excision Removal

The skin tag is carefully cut away using a scalpel. The skin tag will be completely removed and there will only be a small white or pink scar in its place.

Cryotherapy

The skin tag is frozen by applying liquid Nitrogen, a gas that produces freezing temperatures, to the area. The cold temperature kills the cells within the skin tag, blocking the blood supply to the area, causing it to naturally fall off. (This treatment is also used for wart and verruca removal).

Hyfrecation

An electrical pulse is passed through the skin tag to damage the cells, causing the skin tag to fall off.

Whichever treatment method you choose, the procedure often will only take a few minutes to complete. An anaesthetic will be applied before removal and treatment will be relatively painless.

WHAT CAUSES MOLES?

Moles are caused by skin cells that form in clusters, called, ‘melanocytes’, which produce the colour or pigment in your skin.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Are moles dangerous?

Most moles are harmless. However, sometimes they can develop into a form of skin cancer called malignant melanoma. If you notice new moles or existing moles that have changed shape, colour, size, height, or if they become irritated or start bleeding, then it’s important you go to your GP immediately to get them checked and removed if necessary.

When should a mole be removed?

A doctor will be able to determine whether a mole needs to be removed. Sometimes they will take a biopsy to find out whether it is cancerous before removing it. Many people have moles removed for cosmetic reasons, or for comfort if it’s situated in an awkward place.

Who can remove my mole?

Mole removal should only ever be carried out by a qualified doctor. The NHS has cut back on many services in recent years, including mole removal treatments. According to current guidelines, a mole will not be removed on the NHS for purely cosmetic reasons and instead must be done through a private provider.

Why do new moles appear?

Most moles develop in early childhood and up until the age of about 20, but some people develop moles later in life. The development of new moles is linked to sun exposure and new moles can in some cases be a sign of skin cancer.

Are all new moles skin cancer?

It is normal to develop new moles and most are not harmful or cancerous – but a new mole should always be examined by a doctor, particularly if you are over the age of 25.

How can I prevent moles?

Moles are a normal skin characteristic and most people will have between 10 and 40 moles when they reach adulthood. If you want to avoid the development of new moles, you should wear an effective sunscreen and try to cover up in the sun.

Moles and pregnancy

It is normal for moles to get slightly darker during pregnancy. This is due to hormonal changes which can affect the pigment in your skin. If a mole has changed size or texture, consult your GP immediately.

OTHER TREATMENTS FOR MOLE REMOVAL

Laser removal

If your mole is small, you can have it removed with a specialised laser. Laser mole removal treatment uses targeted light energy to break down pigment in the mole.

Shave removal

Moles that protrude from the skin can be shaved away under local anaesthetic. This is usually done using a scalpel, and is relatively straightforward and painless. You may see a pink mark on your skin where the mole was, but this will fade over time.

Excision removal

Some moles may need to be cut away via an excision. This procedure is performed under local anaesthetic and requires a small stitch in the skin. A small scar will be left, which will fade over time.

WHAT CAUSES LUMPS AND BUMPS?

Lumps and bumps on the surface of the skin can appear for a number of reasons. It may be a buildup of dead skin cells or keratin which forms a spot, cyst or milium, or it could be an overproduction of cells forming a mole, skin tag or keloid scar.

SYMPTOMS OF LUMPS AND BUMPS

As there are many reasons why lumps and bumps may occur, there are various symptoms associated with this skin concern.

Warts and Verrucae

Warts are benign (non-cancerous) lumpy skin growths, most commonly found on the hands and feet. They are caused by viruses and are highly contagious.

Veruccae only tend to appear on the feet. They are flat and thick in appearance, hard around the edge and have a small black dot in the centre. Often, they feel sore when touched or stood upon. Like warts, they are highly contagious, but benign.

Moles

Moles are small patches or marks which are usually brown or black in colour and form on the skin. They are caused by skin cells that form in clusters called ‘melanocytes’, which produce the colour in your skin. They vary in shape and size, can be flat or raised, and some even have hair growing from them. Changes in the texture, size and colour of a mole could indicate skin cancer, so consult your GP if you are concerned.

Milia

Milia are small white or yellowish raised bumps or spots on the skin, normally found around the eye area and cheeks, but can appear anywhere on the face or body. Unlike a pimple or spot, milia feel quite hard, almost like a small piece of grit under the skin. Milia are not contagious or harmful.

Skin tags

Skin tags are small brown or flesh-coloured growths that hang from the surface of the skin. Although skin tags are common, they are not contagious and are completely harmless. They do not usually cause any pain or discomfort, however depending on where they are on the body, they can snag on clothing or jewellery and may bleed as a result.

Acne

There are different types of acne, but the most common include spots such as whiteheads and blackheads, or more severe spots like cysts and nodules. Acne is not dangerous, but it may leave scars and can be painful and distressing.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can lumps, bumps and growths be prevented?

Prevention of skin growths isn’t always possible and depends upon the type of lump or bump. Once your practitioner has diagnosed the type of skin growth you have, they will also be able to advise whether there is anything to help prevent the condition recurring.

What are these bumps on my arms?

The little bumps in the skin on the back of your arms could be caused by a common condition called keratosis pilaris (often referred to as ‘chicken skin.’) It may also affect the skin on your thighs, face and buttocks, and is caused by a buildup of keratin in the hair follicles. It is not a serious or harmful condition and it isn’t contagious.

What causes itchy bumps on the skin?

Itchy lumps and bumps on the skin are usually caused by dermatitis such as eczema or psoriasis. They may also be an allergic reaction to washing powder, cosmetics, skin products, perfumes, pets or plants.

NATURAL REMEDIES FOR LUMPS AND BUMPS

Improving the overall texture and condition of your skin can help alleviate lumps and bumps. Regular exfoliation and use of natural, gentle moisturisers such as coconut oil and aloe vera can help to soften the skin and avoid buildup of dead skin cells.

TREATMENTS FOR LUMPS AND BUMPS

Surgical Excision

Typically used to remove moles and even warts or skin tags, this method involves using a sharp scalpel to cut out the skin growth.

Cryotherapy

This method involves liquid nitrogen being used to essentially freeze off the skin growth.

Laser Removal

A high-precision laser beam is used to target the cells of the skin growth, breaking them down using thermal energy.

Hyfrecation

A hyfrecator is a very precise instrument which delivers low energy electrical pulses to cauterise tissue.
Medication: Physical removal of some lumps and bumps is not always suitable. In these instances, a dermatologist may be able to prescribe medication to effectively treat the condition.

WART SYMPTOMS

When the skin’s surface is infected with HPV, the virus causes rough, lumpy growths to appear. Warts are not usually painful, unless they are in an area of skin which catches on clothing or jewellery.

What do warts look like?

  • Firm to the touch and raised
  • Roundish in shape
  • Of varied size (between 1mm and 1cm)
  • Have a rough, lumpy texture, often likened to cauliflower
  • Can appear on their own, as several dotted over the skin, or clustered closely together

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Are warts contagious?

Yes, warts are contagious and can easily be spread through contact to other areas of your face or body, as well as to others. After you have been infected, it can take weeks or months for a wart to actually appear on your skin.

How do you catch warts?

Warts are easily contracted through direct contact from a wart to healthy skin. It is also possible to develop a wart through contact with objects that have been touched by someone with a wart, for example towels, shoes and socks, or swimming pool floors. As warts are contagious, the best prevention is to treat them as soon as possible to avoid them spreading to other areas of your body, or to other people.

What are the different types of warts?

There are five main types of wart:

 

Plantar warts

These appear on the soles of the feet and unlike most other warts, they actually grow inwards on the skin, rather than outwards. They can make walking painful and look like a small hole on the sole of your foot.

 

Flat warts

Flat warts are commonly found on the face, thighs, or arms, and are usually quite small. They have a fairly smooth, flat surface and can be pink, yellow or brownish in appearance.

 

Filiform warts

Filiform warts grow on the face, around the mouth, nose, neck and chin. They have a similar appearance to a skin tag and are soft and fleshy.

 

Periungual warts

Periungual warts are found under the nails, both on the hands and feet, and can cause problems with nail growth.

 

 

How do I get rid of warts?

Warts will eventually go away by themselves, but for some people, this can take months, or even years. As they are contagious, it’s not always appropriate to let the problem go away by itself.

NATURAL REMEDIES FOR WARTS

  • Duct tape: cover the wart with duct tape (cut a piece about the same size as the wart) and leave it on for six days. Then remove the tape and soak the wart in water, then gently exfoliate the wart with an emery board. Leave the tape off overnight and repeat the process until the wart is gone.
  • Essential oils: essential oils such as tea tree, oregano, lemon, thyme, eucalyptus, lavender and cedarwood, are sometimes used as a natural remedy for warts. Apply the oil directly onto the wart using a cotton bud, three times a day until it has gone.

Over-the-counter treatments can be time-consuming, messy, painful and ineffective. Professional skin clinics and dermatologists have access to more effective methods and equipment to treat warts quickly and safely.

OTHER TREATMENTS FOR WARTS

Laser removal

A specialised laser heats up the blood vessels feeding the wart, which collapse in on themselves and stop the blood supply. This starves the wart of nutrients so it naturally falls off after a few weeks.

Excision

The wart is carefully cut out using a surgical scalpel. This procedure can be done under local anaesthetic and will require a small stitch in the skin. The wart is removed immediately with this treatment.

Cryotherapy

Cryotherapy involves using liquid nitrogen to freeze off the wart. The cold temperature kills the cells within the wart, as well as constricting its blood supply. This causes the wart to die and naturally fall off.