You’re It: 3 Ways to Get Rid of Skin Tags
Picking at your skin tags might be tempting, but we recommend one of these safe and simple ways to get rid of them instead.
Skin tags, otherwise known as cutaneous tags or acrochordons, are small, soft skin growths that tend to crop up on one’s eyelids, neck, armpits, groin, and the undersides of one’s breasts. The condition is most common among three distinct demographic groups: women, the elderly, and the obese.
If you have skin tags, there’s some good news — while they may be unsightly, skin tags are almost never painful nor associated with any serious health concerns. Friction from contact with jewelry or clothing can irritate them, though, and many of our patients seek to remove them for cosmetic reasons.
If you are looking to have your skin tags removed, here are the three best available treatment options:
If the skin tags are pedunculated (i.e. resembling bumps or moles), we usually choose to numb the area with an anesthetic such as lidocaine and then snip them off with surgical scissors or a scalpel. The dermatologist would have to determine if it is actually a skin tag or a mole — moles tend to be more deeply rooted in the skin than skin tags. Moles can be removed by “shaving” them off flush with the skin. If the mole goes significantly deeper than the top layers of skin, the cut may require stitches.
If the skin tags are affecting a broad base of skin, another option is to have them frozen off with liquid nitrogen. For this approach, your doctor will swab or spray ultra-cold liquid nitrogen directly onto the skin tag or mole. Freezing skin tags can leave very mild blisters, but they’ll fade away quickly. However, liquid nitrogen treatment also carries a small risk of darkening the affected area.
Similar to freezing, another option is to burn through the narrowest point of a skin tag stalk with an electrified wire. Cauterizing the wound in this way also helps to prevent bleeding during the treatment.
Remember, if your skin tags aren’t bothering you, you may want to let them be: there’s no medical reason for their removal. And though the process is relatively quick and painless, be sure to contact a medical professional if you decide to have your tags removed.