You’ve got skin tags and want them gone. There are several skin tag remover techniques you can do yourself safely. But first, let’s talk a bit about skin tags and if they are dangerous. Then, you can feel at ease removing skin tags yourself.
Skin tags (or acrochordons) are harmless, benign skin growths. They have the appearance of tiny flaps; sometimes attached with a stalk. Although they are often 1/32” to 1/16”, they can grow as large as 1/2”. They can develop anywhere on the body. However, they most often occur on the neck, under the arms, on eyelids, and in areas where there are natural skin folds.
Where Do Skin Tags Come From?
It is said that about half of the population may have at least one skin tag at some point. Occasionally they will develop in groups of fifty to one-hundred or more. There may be some familial disposition to developing large groups of skin tags, but generally, they are thought to occur from repeated friction on the skin.
Does Obesity Cause Skin Tags?
Being overweight also tends to increase the likelihood of developing them, as does pregnancy and diabetes. There is a myth that removing skin tags will cause more to grow. This is not true. Growing the first skin tag predisposes one to growing more. Skin tags do not change over time; neither do they become malignant. They do not present any health problem. However, they can become irritated and painful through friction with clothing, jewelry, hair, or other parts of the body. If they are prominent, they can contribute to sense of self-consciousness. Fortunately, there are a number of methods for removing skin tags.
Ways to Remove Skin Tags
Skin tags can be removed by a doctor or dermatologist. They also can be removed at home. There are three “skin tag remover” methods used in the medical setting. These methods consist of cautery (electrical burning), surgery (snipping with medical shears) or cryotherapy (freezing).
Skin Tag Cauterization
The first medical “skin tag remover” method is cauterization. Often the larger skin tags are numbed with a small shot of Injectable lidocaine before cautery to prevent a shock-like sensation from the cautery tool. Otherwise, a topical numbing agent can be helpful for large areas. Then, the medical professional burns the skin with the tip of the cautery tool. Cautery may not completely remove the skin tag initially. It may take up to two weeks before the area heals completely and the cauterized skin tag resolves. Generally, this procedure is very well tolerated. There is only minor initial discomfort, similar to a set of small pinpricks.
There is generally no bleeding associated with this approach, which is considered a primary benefit. However, if there are a large number of skin tags to be removed, the general area may feel tender and sore for several days. Additionally, cautery sometimes does not remove all skin tags, and one does not know until the areas are healed. One will wish to schedule this minor procedure well in advance of important social events, so there is a not a conspicuous area of tiny pin-point burns.
Cutting Skin Tags Off
The second medical “skin tag remover” method consists of cutting or snipping the skin tags with medical shears or a scalpel. This also may be preceded with Injectable lidocaine if the tags are larger. If the tags are small, then the snipping may be painless. The primary downside to snipping is that it causes bleeding. If the sore is constantly rubbed, it may even result in infection. Also, skin tags that are very close to the skin cannot be snipped. However, for small skin tags that have a stalk, this can be a very quick, painless, and easy approach.
Freezing Skin Tags
The third medical “skin tag remover” method is cryotherapy, or freezing the skin tag with liquid nitrogen. This can be done on both large and small skin tags. The discomfort is minimal, and is similar to that of cautery. A local anesthetic may be administered first for larger tags. The medical professional applies a small amount of cryogen, or freezing agent, to the skin tag. This application can be done with a q-tip or with a small spray applicator. Generally, the cryogen is liquid nitrogen at a temperature of – 196 °C. The downside to cryotherapy is that it can damage surrounding skin if more than the skin tag is touched with the cryogen. And, it has been known to cause minor scarring around the site. Because of this, this third option is not as commonly used.
Do It Yourself Skin Tag Removal
There are a number of home “skin tag remover” methods. The main problem with a medical approach is that health insurance generally will not cover it. It is considered a cosmetic procedure. The downside to a home approach is that it may not work or may work incompletely. Therefore, it may be prudent to start at home, and then visit the doctor if more work needs to be done.
Clippers or Scissors To Remove Skin Tags
One common home “skin tag remover” method is the use of small scissors or clippers. This can be quick and easy for small skin tags. Be sure and sterilize the area before and after with rubbing alcohol. And, make sure the tag is snipped as close as possible to the skin. It will cause bleeding, it can be painful, and it can lead to infection.
Cut Off Blood Supply to Skin Tags
Another approach is to remove the blood supply, so the skin tag falls off. Tie a fine thread or piece of floss around the stocks of the tags. The tags will simply dry up, and fall off. The tags have to be large enough, and must have a definite stalk for this approach to work. If there are tags that meet this description, this can be an ideal, painless approach.
Ointments to Get Rid of Skin Tags
There are a number of ointments that may remove skin tags. Some have had success with repeated applications of apple cider vinegar. Others have used clear nail polish to dry up the tags. Some have had success with keeping duct tape on their skin tags over a period of time. These are simple approaches, and may or may not work.
Removing Skin Tags With Bloodroot
Bloodroot is a natural but powerful plant-based skin tag remover. Research shows that it does destroy skin cells. It can be highly toxic, and has been known to cause injury. Yet it does work, and there are many who feel it is a good answer to their skin tag problems. Doctors advise to use this with great caution, whether it is a single-ingredient application or whether it is part of an ointment.
Mole and Wart Removal Creams Also Eliminate Skin Tags
Many have seen success with multiple-ingredient mole and wart removal creams. If one searches the Internet or asks a pharmacist, these can be easily found. Both the success and the risks depend on the ointment itself. It is advisable to proceed carefully with these, and to seek a reputable product.
Are Skin Tags Harmless?
Skin tags are a common, harmless skin growth. However, the irritation they cause, and the self-consciousness they produce, creates a natural desire for a good skin tag remover. As discussed, there are several good medical options and several home remedies that may also be worth trying. One does not need to live with skin tags.