Skin tags are mysterious. People are more worried about it, just like any debilitating medical condition. More than that, they feel embarrassed about skin outgrowths dangling from different parts of the body.
And all of this leaves you searching for options for skin tag removal, its treatments available, and more that often ends up creating more confusion than ever.
Some call it a form of cancer; for others, it is something very contagious. Some even say that removing it will trigger it to spread all over the body. And others claim that you don’t need any doctor consultations for skin tag removal. And a lot more that leaves people unsure of sticking to their decisions of removing skin tags.
Here is a guide to understanding different aspects of skin tags and their removal options.
What is a Skin Tag?
People often ask, “what do skin tags look like?” Unlike what most articles call it, a skin tag is nothing but a skin outgrowth that connects to the skin using a think stalk. They often give a feeling of hanging skin and are usually found in the area that rubs against each other or with the worn clothes. These include underarms, neck, the upper part of the chest area, or groin.
One does not have them during birth. However, the probability of having tags increases with age. Approximately 25% of adults encounter skin tags. There can be a genetic relation to this entity as well as it can run from one to another generation.
Dermatologists often call it “Acrochordon” They have other names as well, such as soft warts, soft fibromas, fibroepithelial polyps, and fibroma pendulans.
What Causes Skin Tags?
Although there is no specific cause for developing skin tags. But, many believe skin tags can be formed by the friction against adjacent areas in the skin or between your clothes and skin.
Here are the sites that are most prevalent for developing skin tags:
- Chest area especially under the breasts in women
- Groin area
These skin areas have most skin-to-skin friction. These tags are most common among overweight or obese people, as well. Studies even show that Crohn’s patients tend to form perianal skin tags. Sometimes even pregnancy hormones (especially during the second trimester) can also trigger the formation of skin tags.
What Are The Symptoms Associated With Skin Tags?
They might give an appearance of flesh or brown. Their sizes vary from a tiny 1 mm to anything approximately the size of a grape. They can either be smooth or sometimes look like wrinkled.
Sometimes the thin stalk that attaches the tag with skin twists over its blood supply so it can give an appearance of red or black color. People prone to diabetes or a skin condition, acanthosis nigricans can have higher chances of skin tags formation.
How to Diagnose Skin Tags?
Skin tags are usually diagnosed by just looking at it as they have a unique appearance. Doctors typically don’t ask for any lab tests or diagnostics.
However, in some instances, your doctors might send your skin tag to a pathologist for diagnosis to rule out any condition that looks like skin tags such as moles, benign skin growths, or warts.
How to Get Rid of a Skin Tag?
Skin tag removal is not rocket science. Although one does not need any treatment for removing but, often, people look for options for cosmetic reasons or when it starts causing discomfort by rubbing against clothes or when it gets caught by any piece of jewelry.
How to Remove a Skin Tag? Surgical Procedures
One can go for several methods to easily let their skin tags fall. If you go and see a doctor, they usually recommend the following procedures.
Cutting Them Off
Doctors can snip off these skin outgrowths using a scalpel or surgical scissors. Some can even be shaved off. Some might need a deeper cut to prevent them from growing back. Such cuts might need stitches.
Cryosurgery or Freezing Them Using Liquid Nitrogen
In this method, the doctor will first swab your skin and spray some amount of freezing liquid nitrogen over the skin tag area. You might get a small blister over the skin tag area. But don’t worry, it will heal soon.
Electrocautery or Burning Them Off
In this method, an electric is passed through a wire. Once that becomes hot, it is used to burn off the layers of the skin tag. Skin tags are usually burned using a narrow them to prevent any bleeding.
These simple surgical procedures have no significant issues. The doctor will usually numb the area using an anesthetic before he/she begins with any process. They take less recovery time with minute scarring. If there are any changes in the skin, make sure to contact a dermatologist.
How to Remove Skin Tags at Home?
You can go for natural ways to remove your skin tags perfectly at home without any cuts or scars. Here are some of the popular home remedies or over-the-counter skin tag removal alternatives that you can opt for.
Tea Tree Oil
This oil has effective antiviral and antifungal properties that make it a safe option for carrying out skin tag removal at home. It is even preferable option for people affected with acne, eczema, or psoriasis issues.
Here is how you can use this oil for removing your tag.
- Before starting the procedure, make sure to wash the area around the skin tag.
- Massage the area using tea tree oil using a cotton swab.
- Cover the area containing tag using a bandage and remove it after 15 mins.
- Repeat the procedure three times a day until the tag falls off the skin.
Apple Cider Vinegar
It is one of the most prevalent skincare items for ages. One uses it for managing many skin conditions such as eczema and acne.
Use the following steps to remove skin tags with ease naturally.
- Like before, wash the area.
- Use the cotton soaked with apple cider vinegar to swab across the tag.
- Place the bandage for 20 mins and make sure to keep it covered overnight.
- Repeat this procedure before going to bed daily.
If there is a change in the color of the tag, the procedure is good to go for you. But, it might take two or more weeks to clear the area thoroughly.
It is one of the most ancient products that people have been using because of its incredible inflammatory properties. Furthermore, it is also famous for its anti aging properties.
Here is how it is done.
- Crush the garlic cloves and make it into a paste.
- Apply this paste over the area containing skin tags.
- Now place a bandage for overnight and wash it the next day.
- Repeat the procedure until the skin tag removal.
Banana is a meal for kids. Imagine its peel can be used as well. If you have a skin tag, you can use these peels in combo with tea tree oil.
However, if you have a latex allergy or sensitivity, avoid this procedure.
- Place some drops of tea tree oil on the banana peel.
- Use this peel over the skin tag and secure it using a bandage.
- Use this method before going to bed.
- Repeat until the tag completely dries off.
This is a type of procedure that often breaks down the skin cells. So, it is recommended to use this solution only in the affected place.
Here is how you can do it.
- Apply coconut oil around the skin tag area before applying the iodine solution.
- Use a cotton swab and apply around two drops of solution at the skin tag area.
- Repeat this process until the skin tag completely dries off.
You can choose any of the methods mentioned above to remove your skin tag at home safely. However, you should be consistent with the procedure and make sure that you have enough patience as it might take weeks to fall off any skin tag entirely.
How to Prevent Skin Tag?
Usually, once removed, skin tags never grow back. But new ones can pop out in the same area. The only way you can prevent skin tags from forming is by preventing skin frictions. You can also change your lifestyle and keep blood sugar levels comparatively low to avoid the formation of any skin tags.
How to Find a Doctor For Skin Tag Removal?
You can either contact your family healthcare provider or look for a dermatologist. If you are unable to find time for face-to-face consultation, you can also reach out online for an initial diagnosis to rule out any other possibilities.
For instance, Online Medical Clinics provide online consultation options using HIPAA compliant video consultations.
Here is how you can do it.
- Start with filling out some of the personal details and create an account.
- Then, go ahead with answering some of the standard questions in the prequalification form.
- The doctor will contact you after receiving your initial information.
- He will diagnose your condition and accordingly write a prescription for managing your condition.
There is an option of a follow-up as well free of charge in case you don’t get your desired results with the treatment plan provided by the board-certified medical practitioners.
If you are worried about the dangling skin outgrowth and are not sure if that is a skin tag or any other skin condition, seeing a dermatologist or meeting a doctor online will help to diagnose your issue pretty quickly.
As there are certain skin conditions such as seborrheic keratosis or neurofibromas that look like skin tags. So, you must always see a doctor first and rule out every other possibility before going ahead with the skin tag removal process.
Also, one must avoid home remedies such as using clippers or lotions to remove skin tags as it might cause bleeding, infection, or scarring.