What You Need to Know About Skin Tags
Our skin is our body’s first line of defense from the outside elements. It works hard to keep us safe and every so often, we see this hard work present itself through bruises, scabs, pimples, or the occasional bought of dermatitis. Our skin reacts to the outside world and that’s normal—it tells us when things are irritating it or when your body is allergic to something. While it’s important to talk to your dermatologist or doctor when you notice skin abnormalities, not all ailments are cause for concern. One of which is skin tags. It’s completely normal to have skin tags, which are small pieces of skin that hangs off of your body. While it might be alarming to find, skin tags are nothing to be scared of.
Skin tags are common, harmless growths on the skin. They often show up on the neck, eyelids, armpits, groin folds, and under the breasts. Skin tags tend to appear on areas of the body where clothing tends to rub the skin, or where skin rubs against itself. Anyone can develop them, although they are more common in middle-aged and/or obese adults.
While the lesions themselves are harmless, there is a link between skin tags and having high blood sugar and or high levels of blood fats. If you or a loved one continue to find skin tags, or know you have a predisposition for developing them, it’s important to talk to your physician to rule out any underlying causes.
If you don’t have a predisposition for skin tags and find a few on your body, don’t panic. To help you better understand your skin tags, here are some frequently asked questions.
A skin tag, also called an acrochordon is a small growth of hanging skin that may or may not have a stalk. Skin tags are common in 25% of the population and can appear anywhere. However, they are more prominent in area where the skin rubs against itself or clothing. That’s why you find them in creases or folds of skin. They are not dangerous and can be removed.
The cause is unclear but it happens when clusters of collagen and blood vessels become trapped inside thicker pieces of skin. Skin tags can form anywhere from the eyelids, armpits, under the breast, groin, upper chest and neck.
There are multiple methods to remove skin tags like cryosurgery, snip excisions and electrosurgery. The safest method on the eyelid is to use a Cryo tweezer. The Cryo tweezer is applied to the skin tags without risking damage to the eye. The Cryo Tweezers are made cold by dipping them into liquid nitrogen and then each skin tag is grasped while pulling away from the eyelid. The skin tag is held between the two ends of the tweezer until it turns white. This method does not require a local anesthetic, is very safe and causes little to no discomfort to the patient.
The DIY methods like applying apple cider vinegar, coconut or tea tree oil have no compelling evidence that they work consistently. For those for whom it may work, it may take several days of arduous application to remove the tag. Using a string like dental floss can help. Tying the base of the tag and cutting all blood supply will have the tag fall away in a few days. Though it’s not encouraged that you do this. If you do, make sure hands and skin are clean to prevent infections.
Aside from the fact that some individuals have an inherited susceptibility to skin tags; skin tags affect both men and women. They can increase with age, during pregnancy, are more common in larger individuals as well as those with hyperinsulinemia and diabetes.
Almost all skin tag lesions do not require any sort of treatment. However, while skin tags are harmless, many people would rather have them removed. Some people experience mild discomfort or are self-conscious, so having them removed helps increase overall quality of life. If you’d rather get your skin tags removed, for whatever reason, the removal is a quick process.
A physician will use a scalpel, surgical scissors, or one of the methods discussed above to cut it from the skin. While we always offer numbing as an option, many patients don’t find that they need it. When you get your skin tags removed, there is no downtime and you’re able to resume your regular activities immediately.
For safe, pain-free skin tag removals, or for more information, call Desert Wellness Center today at (480) 361-5188.