WHAT CAUSES SKIN TAGS?
It is still unknown why skin tags appear. Usually, they start growing when there is an excessive amount of skin cells in the surface layer of the skin. They grow in the areas where skin folds. Skin tags can affect both men and women but they appear more in people that are older. Some people develop them because they are genetically predisposed. Pregnant ladies get more skin tags that disappear after childbirth. Also, people with type 2 diabetes tend to get more skin tags.
WHY DO PEOPLE REMOVE THEIR SKIN TAGS?
Although skin tags don’t represent a medical issue, some people consider them unattractive and decide to remove them for aesthetic reasons. In other cases, people choose to remove them because get caught by their clothes and cause discomfort. Also, skin tags can get itchy and bleed and then it’s best to remove them.
WHAT DIFFERENT SKIN TAGS REMOVAL METHODS ARE THERE?
Even though skin tags aren’t harmful, patients can remove them if necessary and if they find them unattractive. People are usually bothered by this skin growth if they develop in some visible area like their necks.
Before skin tag removal, the patient is consulted with a doctor. The dctor checks the skin tag that the patient wishes to remove and determines which removal technique is most suitable. The best removal technique is the safest for the patient and delivers good outcomes.
The doctor can choose between different skin tag removal techniques, including Excision, Cryotherapy and Cauterization:
Excision is a technique in which the doctor uses a scalpel or sharp scissors to remove the skin tag. This method is best for small skin tags because it directly cuts them off at their base or the stalk. This technique can be performed without any topical numbing cream because small skin tags are innervated. For slightly bigger skin tags, the dermatologist can first apply the numbing cream to make the treatment less uncomfortable. When the dermatologist removes the skin tag, he/she applies a special liquid to stop the bleeding in the treated area.
Cryotherapy is a technique that is used for the removal of thicker skin tags. During this treatment, the skin tag is frozen with liquid nitrogen. Liquid nitrogen is sprayed on the skin tag and its extreme coldness, causes the skin tag to quickly freeze. When the treatment is finished, the treated area can get red or swollen and it can itch and sting for a little while. A blister may develop on the treated area, which shouldn’t be scratched or removed but left to heal on its own. A couple of days post-treatment, a crust may also develop which usually falls off after a week and reveals a smooth area on the skin.
Generally, the skin tag should fall off after 10 days.
An advantage of this method of skin tag removal is that it is quick and shouldn’t cause any scars. It is generally enough to have one treatment session to safely remove the skin tag.
Cauterization is also used for the removal of thicker skin tags. During the treatment, the dermatologist uses electrocauterization on the skin tag’s stalk or on the whole skin tag. Elecrtocauterization is a heated electrical current that burns and destroys the targeted skin tag. The dermatologist can use a needle or an electric probe to emit an electric current. This method also closes the wound after skin tag removal so there is a small risk or infection or bleeding.
One or two sessions are usually necessary to completely eliminate the targeted skin tag.
Before the treatment, the dermatologist uses a numbing cream, like lidocaine or epinephrine around the targeted area to reduce the bleeding and to make the treatment less uncomfortable. Then, the dermatologist uses an electrocautery instrument to zap off the skin tag. This instrument is very delicate and precise and targets only the skin tag without harming the surrounding tissue.
Side effects of cryotherapy and cauterization are minimal or none. Since both treatments are done by the doctor, complications are usually avoided. When the skin is treated with extreme heat or cold, that area can get lighter or darker because melanin starts to produce excessively. Cryotherapy may cause hyperpigmentation in patients of all skin tones and it is not as precise as cauterization. When using cauterization, dermatologists need to be very careful and precise in order not to harm the tissue around the skin tag, especially if that skin tag is very small.
WHY ARE MEDICAL SKIN TAG REMOVAL TREATMENTS BENEFICIAL?
Even though skin tags don’t represent a serious medical issue, some people find them uncomfortable especially if they grow in visible body areas. They can get very easily removed by different methods in a safe and efficient way.
Skin tag removal treatments are routine procedures but they still need to be done by the doctor. An experienced doctor can advise patients on which removal technique is the best for their skin tag issues.
Patients shouldn’t remove them alone, because they can develop infections. On the other hand, when done properly at a dermatology clinic, the development of an infection is very rare. Dermatologists use sterile equipment and follow a strict protocol when removing skin tags. Also, when skin tags are removed by a dermatologist there is a minimal risk of scars. The treated area heals properly and quickly.
When patients remove their skin tags alone, they only remove them at the surface. These skin tags can grow back and doctors might have problems when trying to remove them completely. When the skin tags are removed at a dermatology clinic, they are always removed completely and shouldn’t grow back.
Generally, medical skin tag removal treatments are fast, safe and straightforward.
When the patients remove their undesirable skin tags, their skin is smooth and clear again which helps patients to feel confident about their appearance.