WHAT CAUSES SKIN TAGS?
The exact cause of skin tags is unknown. Generally, skin tags appear when skin cells in the top layers grow excessively. They develop when the skin rubs against itself and has a lot of folds. Both men and women can develop skin tags and they tend to appear more in older people. Also, people who have type 2 diabetes can grow more skin tags. Pregnant ladies have a tendency to develop skin tags that can be removed after breastfeeding. Also, some people are genetically predisposed to developing skin tags.
WHY ARE SKIN TAGS REMOVED?
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.
HOW CAN SKIN TAGS BE REMOVED?
Although skin tags are generally harmless, people can remove them at a dermatology center if they are bothered by them. People can be annoyed by skin tags especially if they appear on visible places like their face or neck.
If a patient decides to have his/her skin tags removed, he/she must have a consultation with the doctor first. The doctor examines the patient’s skin tags on his/her face or neck and decides which skin tag removal method is the most appropriate. The method must be safe for the patient and also bring the best results.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT METHODS OF MEDICAL SKIN TAG REMOVAL?
The doctor can choose between different techniques to remove a patient’s skin tags.
Excision involves removing the skin tag with sharp sterile scissors or a scalpel. This technique is used for smaller skin tags and cuts them off by removing their stalk at the base. When the skin tag is small, it is not innervated and the procedure can be done without the numbing cream. If the skin tag is a bit wider then the doctor can apply a topical anesthetic cream to ease the discomfort. After the skin tag is removed, a doctor can apply a sterile strips to the treated area for fast healing.
Cryotherapy is used when the skin tag is thicker. It involves freezing the skin tag off with liquid nitrogen. Liquid nitrogen is very cold and it is usually sprayed on the skin tag causing it to freeze quickly. After the treatment, the targeted area may be swollen or red or it may sting and itch a little. A blister may appear on the treated area, but it is important not to remove it but to leave it to heal on its own. Also, after a couple of days, a crust might appear but it falls off after 7 to 10 days and leaves a pinkish smooth area
After this procedure, it takes 10 days for the treated skin tag to fall off.
A plus side of this technique is that it is fast and it carries a minimal risk of scars. But the disadvantage is that it can’t be performed near the patient’s eyes. Patients usually need one session to safely remove skin tags.
Cauterization is also used when the skin tag is thicker. It involves using electrocauterization for the skin tag’s stalk or the skin tag altogether. A heated electrical current destroys the skin tag tissue by burning it off. The doctor uses a needle or an electrical probe that produces an electric current. This technique of skin tag removal closes the wound in order to lower the risk of bleeding or infection.
This technique is especially effective in removing skin tags in very delicate areas like eyelids for example. Before the treatment, the doctor numbs the area around the targeted skin tag with anesthetic cream, lidocaine or epinephrine to prevent excessive bleeding and ease the discomfort. Next, the doctor uses a very fine and precise electrocautery instrument to zap the skin tag off. Since this is a very sensitive facial area, the doctor won’t use sterile scissors here because of the sensitive tissue and curvature of the orbital bone.
Side effects of cryotherapy and cauterization are rare but sometimes can happen. These procedures must be performed by the doctor in order to avoid complications. Sometimes treating skin tags with these methods can cause hyperpigmentation in people who have darker skin tones. Treating skin with extreme cold or heat can cause melanin to produce excessively so the treated area may become lighter or darker than people’s natural skin tone. Cryotherapy can cause hyperpigmentation in people of all skin tones. Also, this technique is not as precise as cauterization. However, even with cauterization, dermatologists need to be very precise when treating skin tags on the patient face or neck and use very fine cautery tips.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF MEDICAL SKIN TAG REMOVAL TREATMENTS?
Although skin tags are harmless, they may cause people to feel uncomfortable especially if they grow on their necks and faces. Having a larger skin tag on the eyelid can cause discomfort or eye pain. However, people can easily solve their issues with skin tags by removing them effectively and safely at a dermatology clinic.
Even though this is a routine procedure that doesn’t cause many risks, it should be performed by a doctor. A doctor can advise the patient on which skin tag removal technique is the best for him/her.
Skin tags shouldn’t be removed at home because there is a risk of developing an infection, while this is impossible at a dermatology clinic. Doctors have sanitizing equipment and follow a strict protocol for the safe removal of skin tags. Also, when done professionally, there is a small risk of scarring. This way the healing process is proper and faster.
When done at home, skin tags might be removed only at the surface. Because of that, they can regrow or the doctor may have problems removing them entirely later on. On the other hand, when done at the clinic, skin tags are removed completely and can’t grow back.
Skin tag removal treatment is fast and safe and it doesn’t require downtime.
After a skin tag removal and healing period that takes up to two weeks, the patient skin on the face or neck is smooth again and the patient feels more confident about his/her appearance