When Should I Have a Skin Tag Removed?
What to Know About Skin Tags
More likely than not, you’ve experienced a skin tag in your lifetime. These are small, solid growths on the skin that look and feel like a small stalk or tab of skin that doesn’t hurt. However, it can be difficult to remove a skin tag, since it’s part of the skin. These are usually harmless, but when one occurs on a visible part of the body or is getting in the way of your self-grooming, it might be preferable to look into having it removed. Consulting with your dermatologist will be the best way to determine whether or not a skin tag should be taken off, and if so, which of the various options for removal is most appropriate.
What Is a Skin Tag?
Skin tags are small growths of skin, and they form in areas where our skin rubs against other skin or clothing. The usual areas include the eyelid, neck, groin, and underarms, but they can form anywhere on the body. Usually when we think of random growths, we think of skin cancer. In this case, however, tags don’t do any harm and can be touched and moved around without sensation, but they might also become painful if irritated too much. Since a skin tag is skin, it’s possible to make them bleed if they’re picked at. These can be a nuisance if you shave your underarms or if you’re feeling embarrassed by how the tag looks on your exposed skin.
Sometimes skin tags will fall off on their own, but other times they persist. In rare cases, they can become infected. Having a discussion with your dermatologist is the first step to having them removed correctly and effectively.
Skin Tag Removal
There’s no way to prevent skin tags from developing, since they’re a random occurrence from friction that can’t be anticipated. A skin tag might be associated with poor health, obesity, and potentially an underlying disease like diabetes or HPV, but they can happen on anyone’s skin. Since they are skin growths, removing them at home is not advised; seek a certified dermatologist who is trained to perform the removal.
When a skin tag does show up and doesn’t go away, your dermatologist will examine the growth and offer a couple of avenues to remove it based on its condition and your skin type.
- Surgical excision: This option is a quick and effective one, where the skin is cut off with either a blade or medical scissors. Since the cuts are small, they may not need stitches, but some of the larger incisions may require them.
- Cryosurgery: Sometimes the growth is able to be frozen off, where a substance, usually liquid nitrogen, is applied to freeze and destroy the cells and remove the tag. This is frequently the option used for removing warts as well.
- Cauterization: A high-temperature instrument will be used to burn the piece of skin away with an electric current.
- Ligation: In this process, the growth is suffocated with a suture at the base, which will cut off the blood supply, killing the cells and allowing the tag to eventually fall off like a scab.
Your dermatologist will be able to tell which kind of skin tag treatment is most appropriate for your specific needs. Schedule an appointment with SE Dermatology today if you’re interested in having your skin tag(s) removed.