Have you ever had the experience of getting your necklace or shirt collar caught on a pesky skin tag? If so, you’re probably wondering how to remove skin tags. Skin tags are common–up to half of all adults will develop at least one at some point in their life.
What Are Skin Tags?
Tags are harmless skin growths that are filled with collagen and blood vessels. They are only about the size of a pen’s pointy end or about 2-5 mm. They hang off the skin from a thin connection point called a stalk.
What Do Skin Tags Look Like?
Skin tags are often found at friction points along the body inside skin folds like:
- Under the arms
- Under the breasts
- Around the neck
- The eyelids
What Causes Skin Tags
We don’t know what causes skin tags. But we do know that some people are more likely than others to get them. They’re most common in people with skin folds who are obese or diabetic. They are also most common between ages 40-70, although they affect people of all ages and sizes.
Should I Be Concerned?
Skin tags are pesky but benign growths. They pose no health risk. Many people who have skin tags are not bothered by them. If they are bothersome to you, there is good news: they are one of the most manageable skin conditions to treat.
Are They Uncomfortable?
Some people experience discomfort when the tags get irritated from repeated rubbing against the skin and clothing. Others complain that they get caught on their clothes or necklaces. And some people find them unsightly.
How To Get Rid Of Skin Tags
If your skin tag is getting twisted or bleeding, it’s time to see your dermatologist. The same goes for cosmetic reasons. If you don’t like the way it looks, you can get it removed. This is an anesthesia-free procedure.
Can You Cut Off A Skin Tag?
Skin tags are not harmful, so removal is possible but optional. It’s good to know that most insurance companies consider skin tags a cosmetic issue and will not cover removal. If you decide to proceed, your dermatologist has several removal options that include:
- Cryotherapy liquid nitrogen is sprayed onto the skin tag, which makes it freeze and fall off.
- Cutting the skin tag is removed with surgical scissors.
- Cauterization low-level electrical current heats and removes the tag.
What To Expect
After skin tag removal, you can expect to feel a little bit sore in the area that was worked on. It helps to apply a topical pain relief ointment like Neosporin. Aftercare for skin tag removal consists of keeping the site clean and regularly applying an antibiotic ointment to keep infection away.
Don’t Try To DIY
Trying to cut off your own skin tag can lead to bleeding and infection. It’s best to let a professional handle it. The same goes for home remedies. There’s plenty of information out there about how to remove skin tags at home with things like tea tree oil or apple cider vinegar. This is not optimal and can lead to other issues like irritation and even skin ulcers.
Moles Versus Skin Tags
Skin tags are usually your skin color, although they can become more pigmented over time with repeated rubbing. Moles, on the other hand, are generally darker than your skin color. Both types of growth are harmless, although you might want them removed for cosmetic or comfort reasons.
If skin tags are bothering you, reach out to one of our board-certified dermatologists today for a consultation. They’ll be able to remove them safely and comfortably for you.