Skin tags are small growths on the skin. A thin stalk supports them. The main cause of skin tags is friction in skin folds in areas like the neck, armpits, and groin. Moreover, they rarely cause irritation and discomfort. However, if they become inflamed or infected, they should be removed. In fact, patients want to remove them for cosmetic reasons.
A skin tag (or acrochordon, fibroepithelial polyp, cutaneous papilloma, soft fibroma) is a small, soft, benign skin growth, hanging off by a thin stalk or peduncle. However, these are not dangerous.
In fact, areas commonly affected by skin tags:
- Under the breasts
- In the groin area.
Skin tags are usually flesh-coloured, varying in size and number. Moreover, skin tags are harmless. In fact, Individuals want to remove them for cosmetic purposes. However, they may cause discomfort when rubbed or twisted. Moreover, if skin tags change colour or size or start to pain or bleed, it is important to consult a dermatologist.
Do & Don't for Getting Skin tags
DO: Keep the treated area covered with a bandage.
DO: Use the prescribed antiseptic ointments to reduce inflammation and redness
DO: Keep the treated area dry.
DO: Follow the post-procedure care instructions.
DON’T: Try and remove the scab.
DON’T: Carry out a strenuous activity that will cause sweating at the treated area.
DON’T: Touch or cleanse the site without disinfecting the site.
DON’T: Allow friction or irritation at the site of treatment.
Causes of skin tags
- Prolonged rubbing of skin against skin
- Prolonged friction with jewellery
- Old age
- Hormonal changes
- Diabetes (type 2)
- Insulin resistance
Skin tags may occur in both males and females. In fact, skin tags occur in the middle-aged group. Moreover, the tendency to get skin warts increases with age.
Treatments of skin tags
A skin tag is usually painless and does not pose any health risks. However, the skin tag may appear unsightly and cause self-image issues. Therefore, individuals may want to remove the skin tag to improve cosmetic appearance. In fact, the doctor will recommend a procedure after assessing the tag and the patients' expectations.
There are several treatment modalities to treat skin tags. In fact, both topical applications as well as, surgical procedures are effective.
1. Over-the-counter solutions: Creams and gels containing salicylic acid are available at pharmacies. They freeze the skin tag, causing it to fall off after 7-10 days.
Chemical peels exfoliate the skin. Thus, they help to remove the skin tag. Dermatologists apply the acid to the tag and stalk with a cotton swab. Then they remove it a few minutes later. Moreover, this is a cost-effective way to remove the skin tag layer by layer.
CO2 laser removal:
The CO2 laser is the gold standard for skin tag removal. Moreover, laser treatment minimises the chances of infection and scarring. In fact, it is a safe treatment.
There is a step by step procedure prior to the surgery. The following steps are carried out:
- Sterilisation: The area to be treated is prepared by sterilizing the surrounding skin, with a disinfectant, to prevent infection.
- Anaesthesia: A local anaesthetic, lidocaine, is injected or applied topically to the site to minimize or prevent pain during the procedure.
- Removal: After ensuring that the anaesthetic has taken effect and the area to be treated is numb, the skin tag is surgically removed.
Dermatologists use liquid nitrogen to freeze the skin tag. In fact, this allows a very targeted application. This is important, because contact with liquid nitrogen may cause discomfort to the surrounding skin.
The treatment may take about 20-30 seconds, depending on the size and number of the tags. However, it may take about 2-3 weeks for the skin tag to blacken and fall off completely.
This treatment uses a high-frequency electric current to burn off the surface of the skin tag. In fact, this results in the easy and quick removal of the skin tag.
Dermatologists use a topical anaesthetic to numb the area before using the cautery. A scab forms after the procedure. One must use an antiseptic cream to avoid infection. The scab will fall off by itself within 2-3 weeks. However, scarring may occur if the scar is disturbed.
In this treatment, the blood supply to the upper portion of the skin tag gets cut off. Therefore, the skin tag falls off. A small band at the base of the tag cuts off the blood supply. The skin tag may fall off after about 7-10 days. However, this process may be painful, depending on the size and location of the tag.
This is not an ideal treatment as there are higher chances of getting secondary infection & pain. Moreover, ligation may not work for larger skin tags.
d) Shave excision:
In this treatment, dermatologists make multiple horizontal cuts around the skin tag to excise it. This happens under the effects of local anaesthesia. One must apply an antibiotic ointment. Moreover, dermatologists cover the wound firmly with a sterile bandage. As a result, this prevents bleeding and infection. A biopsy of this may happen.
Excision removes the tag instantly as opposed to other treatments. This procedure is only for those skin tags which have undergone sudden changes in colour, size, or are bleeding or painful without cause. In other words, growths suspected to be cancerous.
Skin tags generally don’t require treatment. However, sudden changes in appearance of the tags or bleeding or pain at the site of the skin tag may require immediate treatment. READ MORE
Skin tags are benign and painless. However, individuals want to remove them to improve the appearance of the individuals.