Fibroepithelial polyps, also known as cutaneous tags, are the medical name for the little tags of skin which many of us have on our bodies. They are very small, usually measuring less than half a centimeter in diameter and are painless and harmless. They are usually the same color as the rest of the skin but can also be slightly darker.
They are most often found in the parts of the body where the skin creases such as the groin or the armpits but are also commonly found on the eyelids. Babies are not born with skin tags and they develop over the course of a lifetime; older people tend to have far more fibroepithelial polyps than younger people. As the tags are caused by the friction of skin rubbing against skin, they are more common in people who are overweight or obese.
There is also believed to be a genetic link to skin tags, so if parents or siblings have many tags, then you may be at increased risk of developing tags also. Pregnant women may find that skin tags develop rapidly during the second trimester in pregnancy due to the fluctuating hormone levels. There are no practical steps that can be taken to stop skin tags developing, although losing weight for people who are overweight or obese can help.
Fibroepithelial polyps are usually easily identified but can also sometimes be confused with other similar conditions such as moles or certain types of warts. If in any doubt about whether or not it is a skin tag or not, a doctor will be able to confirm the diagnosis one way or the other. Skin tags are not cancerous and unless they are causing irritation to the patient they need not be removed. Many people however who have skin tags on the eyelids or on other parts of the face feel that they would prefer to have their skin tags moved for cosmetic reasons.
There are several creams and lotions available through drugstores, on prescription and online that claim to be able to shrink skin tags and remove them completely. The majority of these creams are not proven medically and unless prescribed by a doctor should be avoided. There are several natural remedies for removing skin tags including a paste of castor oil and baking soda which is just as effective and far cheaper than creams bought which claim to do the same thing. Using natural remedies such as castor oil are also far less likely to cause side effects, allergic reactions and skin irritations than using creams which may contain all manner of harmful ingredients or additives. Natural methods are also cheap and simple to carry out at home, and it is always worth trying them to see if they work before going down a medical route which as well as being more expensive, could also carry the risk of side effects such as bleeding or scarring.
If the natural methods to remove skin tags have not worked, or if results are needed quickly, it may be preferred to try a surgical method to remove the tags. Surgical methods will have instant results, but they may require treatment in hospital or a doctor’s surgery and mean additional expense in doctors’ fees. The most commonly used methods of removing the tags are either freezing them using liquid nitrogen, cutting them off using scissors or a scalpel or tying them with pieces of dental floss or sewing thread to make the tags drop off. Some of these methods may not be appropriate for use on the delicate skin around the eyes.