Skin tags, which are commonly known in the medical world as acrochordons, are a type of growth on the body. These growths are noticeable by their distinctive stalks and floppy appearance. Skin tags will typically be the same color as the skin and won’t have any hairs or additional skin structures present. In a way they look like small flowers. The large majority of the population will at some point experience a skin tag. Removing them is easy, but what illnesses can be found through the careful inspection of skin tags?
Only by looking at a skin tag under the microscope can an accurate diagnosis be made. Although they are easily spotted by sight, some skin tags can be confused with other more serious skin conditions. Looking under a microscope at a skin tag is easy though.
First of all the skin tag must be prepared. The tissue can be prepared by staining it with a chemical called hematoxylin, together with eosin. The tag can then be placed under the microscope. The first thing that should be noticed is that a small stalk is present and is holding up a spherical piece of tissue. There’s a pink core, which is commonly referred to in the medical world as the dermis, and a purple outer layer, which is commonly referred to in the medical world as the epidermis.
Focusing on the epidermis, there will be an overgrowth of normal skin, which is a condition known as hyperplasia. This will completely enclose the dermis and the collagen fibers will seem loose and swollen. Most skin tags will not have any additional hairs, scars, or other skin structures on them.
Well the most obvious answer is because it’s interesting, but it can also be an indication of other more serious skin conditions. Granted, most skin tags are simple disposed of in the form of medical waste, but a pathologist may take control of the tag and subject it to a special microscopic exam. The pathologist will examine the diagnosis given out by the doctor and will then decide if they have missed anything. Pathologists are especially valuable in this situation as they can spot things such as skin cancer.
When determining whether to send a tag to an examination the physician will check if the skin tag looks irregular in any way. Common warning signs are excessive bleeding, particularly large skin tags, and any unusual colors associated with it.
Some skin conditions can actually be performing a mime act and may manifest themselves as skin tags. Moles, warts, nevus lipomatosus, seborrheic keratosis, and milia are just some of the more common skin conditions that may manifest themselves as skin tags.
However, more serious conditions like basal cell carcinoma, malignant melanoma, and squamous cell carcinoma may also come in the form of skin tags. Those conditions are all skin cancers and can be life threatening to patients who suffer from them.