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Dermatologist checking skin tag

Skin Tags: How Are They Removed?

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Developing a skin tag can be annoying. Thankfully, these types of skin growths aren't harmful. There are several ways to remove them from over-the-counter solutions to a quick doctor's visit. If you have a skin tag or two, here is some helpful information to keep in mind.

What are skin tags?

A skin tag is noncancerous skin growth connected by a thin piece of skin known as a peduncle. They can appear in different places on the body but are more commonly found where the skin folds. Some areas can include the neck, underneath the breast, eyelids, thighs and neck. They also might appear slightly darker than a person's skin tone due to hyperpigmentation. Some skin tags might be smooth and round, while others might be long and thin or even wrinkly.

How do they develop?

It is believed that friction between the skin is the main culprit, so skin tags are commonly found in skin folds. Research also suggests that people with diabetes are more likely to develop skin tags, but this does not mean that if you have skin tags you have diabetes. It can also be a side effect of pregnancy due to weight gain and increased hormones levels. The human papillomavirus may also be a contributing factor in skin tags.

How can they be removed?

Smaller skin tags may rub off with time, but it's not the same for every case. If you find your skin tags to be bothersome, there are different types of treatment from natural remedies to in-office visits.

While there isn't scientific evidence to back up these claims, some people have removed skin tags by applying apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil or vitamin E in oil form. Some over-the-counter treatments include cryotherapy, or freezing kits. These kits consist of liquid nitrogen to freeze the skin tag off.

If your skin tag is too stubborn for these measures, you may need to see a doctor. A doctor can do a minor surgical procedure using scissors or a scalpel to remove the skin tag. It's important to note that you should never attempt to cut off a skin tag on your own.

When to see a dermatologist?

If your skin tags aren't going away, you may want to see a dermatologist to help with removal if the cosmetic appearance bothers you. This is considered a cosmetic procedure and is not covered by insurance. Some skin tag removals may also take a couple of sessions to remove completely. While skin tags are not harmful, it's also essential to examine your skin tag for any signs of bleeding, itching or changes in color. Your dermatologist will be able to determine if there is a more serious problem or even do a quick biopsy.

Make a Dermatology appointment with Ochsner Health.

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