Whether it’s a single, blueberry-sized lump of skin at the base of your neck or a cluster of fleshy chunks in your armpit, you know how embarrassing skin tags can be. Medically, skin tags are harmless. Practically, they probably make you cringe each time you catch a glimpse of one in the mirror. If you need to know how to remove skin tags, this article will give you some basic guidance.
Skin tags are non-cancerous growths frequently found on the neck, armpits, and eyelids as well as under the breasts and in the groin. They tend to afflict women more than men and often show up during pregnancy. They may also be caused by genetics—so remember to thank Mom or Dad at the next family get-together.
Regardless of the cause, there are a number of options when it comes to how to remove skin tags:
Option #1: In-Office Skin Tag Removal
Health care professionals can get rid of those unsightly tags for you. Perhaps the simplest method is when the doctor uses a scalpel to cut the skin tag off of your body. Another in-office procedure, called cryotherapy, involves freezing the tag with liquid nitrogen, the same compound used to freeze off warts. Your dermatologist may also choose to cauterize, or burn, the skin tag, which is designed to kill any cells and close the wound to prevent infection.
There are disadvantages to in-office treatment. Since it’s often considered a cosmetic procedure, many insurance policies won’t cover the cost, leaving you to shell out the cash. Some removal methods, such as cutting, can also scar your skin.
In addition, many medical treatments cause pain or discomfort, which might require an anesthetic during the procedure as well as over-the-counter relief afterward. And, as with any medical procedure, there is a risk of infection.
Option #2: At-Home Skin Tag Removal
If you’d like to learn how to remove skin tags in the privacy of your own home, here are a few methods. For example, one “cure” commonly recommended on the Internet is to coat the skin tag with clear fingernail polish several times a day. In theory, the polish suffocates the skin tag, which then falls off. However, the chemicals in nail polish can be harsh and there is no evidence that this treatment works.
Others recommend sterilizing nail clippers or scissors and slicing the skin tag off yourself. Cheaper? Yes. Smart? Maybe not. Performing what is essentially home surgery is rarely a good idea. If your tools aren’t properly sterilized, you could develop an infection, and, if you’re cutting is less than precise, you could give yourself a nasty scar.
Remember, if you do not know for sure that a skin tag is what you’re dealing with, it’s best to seek advice from a health care professional who can confirm the diagnosis. Also, if you suspect a tag is infected (which can happen if, for example, it was nicked by a razor), see your doctor for proper treatment.
But if you do know that extra lump of flesh is a skin tag, you have options that don’t involve expensive and time-consuming health care procedures, harsh chemicals, or self-surgery. By learning some of the common methods of how to remove skin tags, you can identify therapies that might not work for you.
Unfortunately these ugly blemishes can pop up at any time—that’s why you’ll want to find a treatment that’s tough enough to banish the skin tags but gentle enough to protect the surrounding skin. Some methods even use all-natural methods to eliminate skin tags. Try to find a removal program developed by experts in skin care. The company should also base their methods on scientific evidence, not on old wives’ tales or internet chat rooms cures.