Skin tags are small-sized growths on the skin that can develop up to ½ in long. These growths are typically similar in color as your skin or faintly darker. Skin tags are comprised of blood vessels along with collagen fibers that are enclosed by skin. They are connected to the rest of the skin by a thick or thin stalk.
Skin tags commonly grow in the neck, groin, breasts, stomach, underarms and eyelids. They are harmless but they can be unsightly for some people. Individuals who are obese, diabetic, pregnant and the elderly are likely to develop skin tags.
Difference between a skin tag and other skin growths
Your doctor or dermatologist can confirm a skin tag. In case the growth is close to the eye, it is best to consult an eye doctor. A skin tag can be diagnosed by close inspection of the skin.
In some cases, what seems to be skin tag is actually a wart, mole or other types of growth. Nevertheless, your doctor can perform a biopsy by cutting off a skin tag and sending it to the laboratory. Take note that it is possible for a dangerous skin cancer to look strikingly similar to a skin tag.
How to get rid of skin tags
Skin tags do not require any treatment and are harmless, unless their location causes them to rub against other skin or clothes. In such cases, they can become irritated. If they are irritated, it is best to have them removed.
Individuals who have multiple skin tags can have them removed for aesthetic reasons. Just remember that if skin tag removal is not medically needed, it might not be covered by insurance.
There are several techniques used to remove skin tags:
- Freezing by using liquid nitrogen
- Cutting by using scissors or other sharp tools
- Burning by using an electric current
In case several skin tags are removed at the same time or if the skin tags are big in size, your doctor might apply an anesthetic cream in order to minimize the pain. If the doctor freezes or burns the skin tags, it might take a few days for them to fall off. Understandably, the removal of a skin tag will not guarantee that they will not grow back or new ones will no longer develop in other parts of the body.
Risks linked with skin tag removal
The techniques used to remove skin tags are low risk. It can cause minimal bleeding but there is a small chance of getting an infection. Always remember that home remedies are not recommended. Individuals who are taking medications including herbal supplements should inform their doctor since some drugs and herbs will cause bleeding after the removal. Do not forget to follow the instructions provided by your doctor when caring for the area where the skin tags were removed.