Did you know that your skin is always changing? Every 27 days the dermis (the outer layer of skin) regenerates and all of the skin cells are replaced by new ones. Every seven years, all the cells in your body are replaced by new ones.
With all this growth and change happening constantly in the ecosystem that is the human body, it’s important to pay attention to your own skin and to be aware of the shifts constantly taking place. Of all the evolution, one of the more peculiar skin happenings is the development of skin tags and seborrheic keratoses. Here’s what you need to know about these two normal — if not a bit odd — skin conditions.
For starters, let’s assuage any panic: skin tags are harmless and common. The growths, medically called Acrochordons, are connected to the skin by a small, thin stalk called a peduncle. It’s unknown what causes the growths, but they’re equally common among sexes and tend to show up in areas where there are skin folds (like the underarms, neck, eyelids, and groin).
While the cause of skin tags is unknown, they do tend to be more common in those with diabetes, suggesting that insulin resistance may somehow contribute to the development. However, others believe this is simply due to the increased number of skin folds. Additionally, research has found that HPV may play a factor in skin tag development as well. Whatever, the cause, these harmless growths can be easily removed (although they don’t need to be).
Skin tag removal can be done in a number of ways: cryotherapy, surgical, electro, or litigation.
Cryotherapy, or freezing, removes the tag with liquid nitrogen, while surgical removal is done with scissors or scalpel after the area in question has been number. Electrosurgery involves burning off the skin tag, and litigation removes the growth by tying it off with a surgical thread. We’ll determine the best method to remove your tags in-office, but all procedures are relatively painless and simple.
Another benign skin condition, seborrheic keratoses are another misunderstood skin condition. Often confused with melanoma, the growths often appear on the chest and back, and vary a lot in appearance.
The keratosis can range in color from light tan to brown or black. Typically the common texture is rough and grainy with a surface that crumbles easily, but they might also appear smooth and waxy. Traditionally they’re relatively small but can range up to three centimeters in diameters. Many patients describe it as looking “ stuck on.”
The cause of seborrheic keratosis is unknown, but factors like age, genetics, and sun exposure are thought to play a part. Treatment of seborrheic keratoses is similar to skin tags with the most popular removal methods being cryo and electrosurgery: freezing and burning the growths off, respectively.
One of the most important things to note is that unlike melanoma spots, the growths stay consistent in appearance, never changing over time. While the seborrheic keratosis itself isn’t dangerous, it’s still important to have any skin changes checked out by a dermatologist.
Whether you’re simply looking to have an annual skin check or to have a specific change or growth on your body assessed, we’re here to help. Give us a call today to book your appointment and love your skin: (208) 888-0660.