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Dermatology Blog

Skin Tags: The Tags Your Skin Can Live Without

Skin tags are harmless, non-cancerous tumors that often develop on the skin. They usually consist of fat cells, nerve cells, ducts, and fibers, along with a covering. Unless they’re on a prominent part of your body, they often go unnoticed. In many cases, they may fall or rub off painlessly, and in some cases, they may burst under pressure.

While some skin tags start and stay small, others may grow bigger. They can range from 2 millimeters to 1 centimeter, and some can also become 5 cm longTop of Form. Here are some common places they may appear on:

  • Neck
  • Groin
  • Upper chest
  • Eyelids
  • Armpits
  • Under the breasts

How to Distinguish a Mole From a Skin Tag

The peduncle is a way to identify a skin tag. Skin tags also usually hang off the skin, unlike moles. Skin tags are also smooth, round, and softer to touch, but they may also be asymmetrical and wrinkly. Some of them may also resemble rice grains. Usually, they are the same color as flesh but can also be darker due to hyperpigmentation. Lack of blood flow can make them black.

Causes

skin tags 2 300x200 - Skin Tags: The Tags Your Skin Can Live WithoutThere are various theories about their causes, but nothing is known for sure. According to some, skin tags result from blood vessels and collagen becoming trapped inside a thick area of the skin, while others believe that they appear due to skin rubbing. They can also happen to women during pregnancy and to people who are obese or diabetic. Other conditions linked with skin tags are high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.

How to Remove Skin Tags

Skin tag removal is usually due to cosmetic reasons as they are harmless. However, they may irritate if they rub against the skin, jewelry, or clothing constantly.  If you want to know how to remove skin tags, here are some treatment options.

Surgical Excision

This procedure involves a sharp circular blade or a scalpel to remove the skin tag. Some healthy skin is also cut out around it, and later the skin is stitched close.

Risks

Surgical excisions can leave a scar, and the site of the surgery can also get infected. Therefore, it’s critical to care for the wound by cleaning and keeping it moist and covered.

Cauterization

 

Cauterization is also a popular technique for removing skin tags. It involves burning them using electrolysis. The procedure does not require any special preparation, but your doctor may place a grounding pad on your body to protect it from any harmful effects of the electric current.

 

Risks

 

The treatment does not have any major risks, but there are chances that you may get:

 

  • Infection- It is minor and can be treated using antibiotics prescribed by your doctor
  • Slight bleeding
  • Mild discomfort- It’s normal to feel slight discomfort after the procedure, and pain medication prescribed by your doctor can reduce it

 

 

Cryosurgery

During this procedure, a spray gun is used to apply liquid nitrogen to your skin tag. After a few seconds of discomfort, you will notice that the target area is frozen. It takes a few minutes for your skin to return to normal temperature.

 

Risks

Even though it’s normally well-tolerated, some pain or discomfort is normal. Some people may experience:

  • Swelling or redness post-treatment
  • Blistering (which is a common response to freezing and goes away once a scab forms
  • Infection (can be treated through antibiotics prescribed by your doctor)

 

Some people can also experience:

  • Scarring
  • Numbness on the treatment site
  • Pigmentation changes

 

Ligation

 

If you would like to know how to remove skin tags painlessly, consider ligation. This procedure involves tying surgical thread around the skin tag to reduce blood flow. As a result, the tag drops off.

 

Risks

There aren’t any serious risks associated with the procedure.

Over-the-Counter Solutions

Over-the-counter or OTC solutions are readily available at pharmacies. They can help freeze the skin tag and make them fall off after ten days; however, professional advice is necessary before using them.Skin Tag Patches

If you want to figure out how to remove skin tags at home, skin tag patches are a popular method used at home. They contain herbal remedies or medication and cause the tag to fall off after applying.

Even though it sounds easy, professionals don’t recommend it. They may claim to be effective and easy on the pocket, but most professionals don’t recommend using them. Essentially, there are three types of patches:

  • Essential oils: Contain herbal ingredients
  • Salicylic acid: It is an ingredient used in acne medication
  • Pressure: They don’t contain medication but apply pressure to make the tag fall off

Before using such patches, remember to consult your doctor to have a more effective alternative solution to your skin tags. Most importantly, remember that the benefits do not necessarily outweigh the serious risks of removing them at home.

A Sign of Skin Cancer

According to the AADA or American Academy of Dermatology Association, some growths may look like skin tags but could be warts or skin cancer. Removing a cancerous growth could cause it to spread and create more damage. Therefore, avoid treating it at home and check in with your doctor as early as possible.

When Should You See a Doctor?

Health experts advise people to avoid removing skin tags on their own as it can cause an infection and bleeding. The safest way is to go to an experienced medical professional, especially if the tag is painful and large. If it is on the eyelid, then you might have to consult an ophthalmologist. Moreover, always keep a check on any changes that appear in your skin tag development, as in some cases, they can also indicate cancer

On the whole, skin tags may seem like a nuisance that you should get rid of as soon as possible. But sometimes removal is not worth the risk, and if it is necessary, we recommend consulting your health care professional.

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