Skin Tag Removal
Skin tags can be bothersome for some people, whether due to appearance or because they cause pain if caught around jewelry or clothing. While they are not dangerous to health, they can still be removed, but it must be done properly to avoid infection or injury.
What are Skin Tags?
Skin tags are typically soft, benign and harmless. Technically, a skin tag is loose collagen fiber that gets caught within thicker areas of skin. The exact cause of them is unknown, but because they usually are found within skin folds around the neck, armpits, breasts, groin and eyelids, it is believed they develop from skin-to-skin friction. Skin tag growth has also been linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and hormonal changes in pregnancy.
Removing Skin Tags at Home
When you notice a skin tag, it is possible to remove at home. It is important to note these remedies may take time as their purpose is to dry out the skin tag and causing it to shrink until it eventually falls off.
- Tea Tree Oil: Begin by thoroughly washing the area. Massage the oil over the skin tag using a cotton swab, then apply a bandage overnight. Repeat nightly until it dries out and falls off.
- Banana Peel: Simply place a piece of peel on the skin tag then cover with a bandage overnight. Repeat nightly until it dries out and falls off.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: Soak a cotton ball in the vinegar and place over the skin tag, wrap in a bandage for 15 – 30 minutes, then wash the skin. Repeat this daily until it falls off.
- Over-The-Counter Products: These can be purchased at drug stores and simply require the liquid to be applied over the skin tag until the tag falls off. Always follow package instructions and use as directed.
Do not attempt to remove a skin tag at home by cutting it or tying off with string as it can result in bleeding or infection. If you are unsure that what you have is a skin tag, be sure to get checked by a doctor first before using any at-home treatment.
Getting a Skin Tag Removed at the Doctor
For those who are uncomfortable removing a skin tag at home, or would like it taken care of quicker, visit a doctor or dermatologist. There are several ways a skin tag can be removed in a medical setting effectively and safely, regardless of size or location. Having one removed by a physician is also recommended if it appears atypical or suspicious as the doctor can decide to perform a biopsy to rule out any more serious skin conditions.
- Cauterizing: This method utilizes heat to remove the skin tag and close the wound.
- Cryosurgery: A small amount of liquid nitrogen is sprayed onto the skin tag, freezing it off.
- Surgery: The skin tag is simply snipped off at the base with surgical scissors. Depending on the size and location of the skin tag, stitches may be required.
Once removed, they usually will not return, but it is possible to still develop them elsewhere on the body.
After Skin Tag Removal
Because of their typically small size, the removal of skin tags – when done properly – rarely will result in infection or complications. It is possible for a scar to develop, but it may gradually disappear or lessen in appearance over time. If you have chosen to remove at home, use antibiotic ointment on the area to help promote healing, but visit your doctor right away if it becomes painful or begins bleeding.
If you choose to have a doctor remove the skin tag, you will be provided with aftercare instructions. These will differ case-by-case depending on the treatment that was used. You may require a follow-up appointment if the skin tag was larger in size and resulted in a more substantial wound or stitches.