About half of all U.S. adults have at least one skin tag—a small, noncancerous growth on the skin. Skin tags can appear anywhere on the body, but are particularly common in places where the skin folds, such as the armpits, thighs, eyelid, and neck. They’re made up of skin cells, collagen fibers, nerve cells, fat, and blood vessels, and attach to the skin by a thin stalk called a peduncle.
Why would someone want to remove a skin tag?
Skin tags are harmless and painless and, as such, don’t require treatment. However, some people opt to have them removed because they think they’re unsightly or because they get caught on clothing or jewelry.
How can you safely remove skin tags?
If you want to remove a skin tag, you should visit a healthcare professional and undergo a simple skin tag removal procedure. It’s important to not try to remove them yourself, as there are risks and potential complications involved with do-it-yourself removal. These include infection, scarring, and excessive bleeding.
By visiting a doctor, you can ensure your skin tag removal will be effectively done in a safe, sterile environment, minimizing the risk of infection or other complications.
Your doctor can also make sure your skin growth is, in fact, a benign skin tag and not something else entirely, such as a wart or even skin cancer. If you remove a growth yourself that’s actually skin cancer, you can end up leaving behind cancer cells, which can multiply and spread.
What does a skin tag removal procedure entail?
There are several ways that a doctor might suggest removing your skin tags, all of which can be done during a quick, in-office procedure. These methods include:
- Excision: With this method, a doctor will numb the area and use surgical scissors or a scalpel to cut the skin tag off. These tools are much sharper than the scissors you have at home and they’re sterile, which is very important. Excision is generally only used for smaller skin tags.
- Cauterization: This method involves burning the skin tag off at its base. This is done with an electrical probe or needle that produces an electric current. This method simultaneously removes the skin tag and seals the wound to prevent infection and bleeding.
- Cryotherapy: With cryotherapy, the skin tag is frozen with liquid nitrogen, which causes it to fall off, usually within about ten days.
All of the above skin tag removal methods are permanent, meaning the skin tag won’t grow back. The method that’s used depends on a few factors, including the size of the skin tag, the shape of the skin tag, and the doctor’s preference.
How do you care for your skin after a skin tag removal?
How you care for your skin following a skin tag removal procedure depends on the method that was used. If the skin tag was excised, you may be instructed to either keep a bandage on it for several days or leave the wound uncovered. Your doctor might also suggest applying an antibiotic ointment. Larger wounds may require stitches, although this is not common.
Cauterization and cryotherapy usually don’t require aftercare, although you may need to bandage it for a few days if the area is rubbing against your clothes and causing discomfort.
Skin tag specialist in East Stroudsburg, PA
If a skin tag is bothering you or you simply don’t like the appearance of it, visiting your doctor to have it removed is the best option. If you’re in the Lehigh Valley, PA area and would like to have a skin tag examined and removed, get in touch with either of Dr. Kothari’s two offices in East Stroudsburg or Bethlehem.
Dr. Kothari has extensive experience in removing skin tags, warts, moles, and cysts and takes extra steps to ensure his patients are relaxed and comfortable during the procedure. Schedule your consultation today!