A Moment of Science

Skin Tags

Have you spotted a strange mole, only to discover it doesn’t really resemble a mole at all?

It sounds like you’re looking at a skin tag, not a mole. It’s a common mistake to confuse the two. The scientific term for a skin tag is acrochordon, and it’s simply a flesh-colored growth that hangs from the skin by a thin piece of tissue called a stalk. They’re more common as people age, especially in women.

What causes skin tags is unknown, but they do appear more frequently in areas where the skin is rubbed by clothing or by other body parts, such as in creases like your underarm. They also tend to appear in hot, moist places such as under the breasts, between the thighs, or around the genitals.

The good news is that skin tags are never cancerous. The bad news is because people so often confuse moles for skin tags, you should monitor them just as you do your moles. If you notice changes or anything that would be suspicious in a mole, you should have your doctor check it.

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