Skin tags around the genitals, also called acrochordons, are small and very common skin growths that develop on the skin in the genital area. The genital area in men is defined as anywhere around the penis, scrotum or rectum and the genital area in women is defined as the area around the vulva, vagina or anus. According to Medline Plus, skin tags around the genitals are usually benign and harmless.
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Skin tags usually develop as a result of the friction that is created when skin rubs against skin frequently. The genitals are a common area for skin tags to develop because the area has a lot of skin folds that make it possible for the body to create a significant amount of friction. Skin tags are more common in overweight individuals than thinner individuals and usually occur after midlife, according to Medline Plus.
In most cases, the only symptom of a skin tag around the genitals is the actual, visible skin growth. Skin tags differ in appearance between individuals. Some skin tags are light tan or peach-colored, whereas others can range in color from light brown to dark brown. The skin tag may lie flat against the body or be attached to the genital through a mushroom-like stalk. According to Medline Plus, the skin tag can be miniscule or up to one-half of an inch.
If the skin tag becomes irritated, it may cause itching or discomfort. The skin tag may also bleed if it gets caught on clothing or other areas of the skin.
In order to diagnosis a skin tag around the genitals, a dermatologist will look at the area and eliminate other possible conditions, such as herpes viral infections. If the skin tag looks abnormal, the doctor may perform a biopsy to test for abnormalities, such as cancer.
Treatment is not required for skin tags around the area, but may be desired for cosmetic reasons. Treatment for skin tags usually consists of removal of the entire skin growth. The growth may be cut off with a scalpel, electrically burned off or cauterized or frozen off with liquid nitrogen in a procedure called cryotherapy, according to Cleveland Clinic.
When skin tags around the genitals are removed, they usually do not return in the same area. Medline Plus notes that skin tags may develop in other areas, however.