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Skin Tag Removal: A Detailed Guide

Skin Tag Removal: A Detailed Guide

by Shankari Das · May 17, 2021

Skin tags are noncancerous, benign tumors of the skin. The surface of these tags may be smooth or irregular in appearance. The question arises – is skin tag removal important? How to remove skin tags naturally?

They often go unnoticed, unless they are located in a prominent place or get repeatedly rubbed by clothing or jewellery.

They generally grow from the surface of the skin on fleshy stalks. They are usually skin-colored or slightly brownish.


What is Skin Tag?

Skin tags are soft, noncancerous, skin-colored growths that usually form within the skin folds. 

They can appear on your neck, breasts, armpits, groin area, and eyelids. 

These soft tissues are loose collagen fibers that are formed inside thicker areas of the skin.

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The exact cause of these skin growths is unclear. But they generally develop from friction or skin rubbing against another skin. These growths are also extremely common. They affect almost half of the population. They are also more common among older adults or people with overweight, and people with diabetes. These skin lesions are generally harmless, but at times they can be painful when rubbed by clothing or jewellery.

There are a few surgical options, home remedies, and over-the-counter products to get rid of these skin growths. The medical term used for skin tag is acrochordon. Other synonyms that are used to refer to skin tags include soft fibromas, soft warts, fibroepithelial polyps (FEP), fibroma pendulans, and pedunculated fibroma. 

Skin tags can be noticed in any individual. But they tend to increase in frequency as we age. They are more common in obese people, possibly due to increased rubbing and irritation of skin folds. 

The aging processes or hormonal factors may also play a role in the development of this skin growth. Skin tags are most commonly found on your neck region or near your armpits or axillae. But they occur in all skin folds and also on the back and abdomen.


Skin Tags: Why Should They be Removed?

This is the most common question you might have. How do you determine whether it is a mole, actinic keratosis, or skin tag? 

And what are the types of skin abnormalities you should be concerned about? Skin tags are common, and they are one such skin abnormality.

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Tags are small portions of your skin that appear to protrude from your normal skin. They are a common benign condition of the skin. 

Usually, they are a few millimeters in diameter and they vary in appearance. Some are the same color as your surrounding skin, while others are darker than your surrounding skin. In almost all cases, they are attached to your underlying skin by a small band of tissue.

Most of these skin tags are asymptomatic, which means that they cause no symptoms. Most of these growths are benign; reports of malignancies of these skin growths are extremely rare. 

They can become irritated and inflamed, especially when they grow in your skin folds or in areas where clothing rubs against them.

Your doctor or dermatologist will recommend the removal of your skin tags only when they start irritating you. You also need to remove them when they become a source of discomfort. You may want to remove them for cosmetic reasons. Especially when they occur on the visible areas such as the face or hands.

They can be easily removed in your doctor’s office. These tags are often cut after injecting a small amount of anesthesia. Freezing is also a technique sometimes used to remove warts or other benign lesions of the skin. And it is sometimes performed for the removal of skin tags as well.



Surgical Procedures for Skin Tag Removal

If you are not comfortable, do not remove the skin tag yourself. You can visit your doctor or dermatologist to remove it. 

Your doctor will numb the area with a local anesthetic and perform the procedure. The biggest risk involved after surgery is that the area might get infected. Hence you need to carefully follow your doctor’s instructions to care for the wound until it heals.

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Your doctor might perform one of the following procedures depending on the size and location of your skin tag:
1 Surgery. This procedure simply involves your doctor snipping off the skin growth at its base using surgical scissors. Your location and size of the skin tag will determine the need for stitches or bandages.
2 Cauterization. Your doctor will use heat to remove the skin tag.
3 Cryosurgery. Your doctor will spray a small quantity of liquid nitrogen over the growth. It will freeze off the growth. As you might have read, these skin growths are noncancerous growths. But in case any of these skin tags look suspicious, your doctor might perform a biopsy as a precautionary measure.


Home Remedies for Skin Tag Removal

Many of the home removal techniques are more effective than others.

Some of these techniques for removing tags at home are safer than others. There are plenty of products on the market for this purpose.

But check with your doctor before trying any of the following:

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The home remedies for skin tag aim at drying out the skin growth until it shrinks in size and falls off.

1 Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil is known for its antifungal and antiviral properties. It is safe to use on your skin. The first step is to wash the affected area. Then with the help of a cotton swab gently massage the tea tree oil over your skin growth. At the end, place a bandage over the area overnight. Keep repeating this treatment for several nights till the skin growth dies out and falls off.

2 Banana peel

If you have a skin tag, do not throw away your old banana peels. The peel of a banana is very helpful in drying out a skin tag. There are numerous anti-ageing components present in banana peels that make them ideal for heal skin tags.

Place a small piece of banana peel over your skin growth and cover it with a bandage. Repeating this routine daily for a week or two will help to dry out your skin growth. Do this every night until it peels off from your body’s surface.

3 Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a very good home remedy. The acidity of apple cider vinegar helps in breaking down the tissue surrounding your skin growth, causing it to fall off. Soak a cotton swab in apple cider vinegar, and place it over the affected area. Wrap the section in a bandage for 20 to 30 minutes, and then wash the skin. Repeat the above step daily for a couple of weeks.

4 Vitamin E

It has been noticed that aging is a key factor that may contribute to skin tags. Vitamin E is a well-known antioxidant that fights wrinkles and keeps your skin healthy. The powerful antioxidant nature of Vitamin E is very beneficial for removing skin tags that occur due to aging.

Simply massage a generous amount of liquid vitamin E oil over your skin growth and leave it overnight. This will cause the growth to vanish in a couple of days. You only need to massage the oil over the area and surrounding skin until it falls off. The oil will assist in gradually shrinking the growth and will finally disappear, leaving your skin smooth and flawless.

5 Garlic

Garlic is very helpful in improving the appearance of your skin by reducing inflammation. To naturally get rid of a skin tag, use crushed garlic and apply it over the tag. Then cover the area with a bandage and allow the garlic extract to act overnight. The anti-inflammatory properties of garlic work to totally eliminate the bulging skin tags. In the morning, wash the area with water. Repeat this step until your skin tag shrinks and disappears.


Skin Tag Removal – Aftercare Tips

Generally, complications and infections do not usually occur with skin tag removal. 

Some of you might develop a scar after removal, which will slowly disappear over time.

Proper aftercare will help to reduce infection and heal the wound faster.

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After removal, your doctor will advise you to clean the wound two times a day with antibacterial soap and water. You should strictly follow your doctor’s aftercare(skin care) instructions. 

You can take over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen. The discomfort following your mole removal is typically mild and is tolerable. Just avoid rubbing and scratching your wound during recovery. 

As your wound heals slowly, it may itch. Keeping the area moist with a thin layer of petroleum jelly to help relieve the itching.

After removing a tag at home, you should apply antibiotic ointment to the area as a precaution. This will automatically lower the risk of infection. Visit your doctor if the area becomes painful or starts bleeding.

If you have undergone a medical procedure for the removal of the skin tag, you should follow your doctor’s instructions. Which may include keeping the wound dry for at least 48 hours and thereafter gently washing the area with soap water.

Possible Side Effects – Skin Tag Removal

After removal of your tag, there might be bruising, swelling, and redness. The time taken to recover depends upon the method of removal and the size of your skin tag. You might experience mild to acute pain depending upon the method of removal. An incision requiring stitches may be tender and will take a longer time to heal.

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Scarring might occur, especially if the removed tag was large and deep, which required surgical excision and stitches. Depending on your skin type, the scarring might fade away slowly with time. 

There are at times the possibility of an infection. This risk is dramatically reduced if the wound is kept clean and washed twice a day. The general signs of infection are pain, redness, warmth in the area, and the appearance of pus.

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