Most skin tabs or skin tags are small, look strange and usually do not hurt. Because of their small size and painlessness, many people think they can remove their own skin tags at home. This can be a dangerous assumption, especially if the skin tags occur on the genitals or eyelids. Do-it-yourself skin tag removal remidies, such as cutting the tag off with scissors, opens the body to infections and causes unnecessary pain.
Removing a skin tag may also be unnecessary. They are not contagious and are not symptoms of a contagious disease. Some skin tags will fall off by themselves. They may turn dark blue, purple or black and drop off after three to eleven days. These color-changing skin tags are also painless. If they do suddenly become painful, they should be checked by a doctor or dermatologist.
Types of Skin Tag Removal
There are several in-office procedures doctors and dermatologists do to remove skin tags from patients. Just what method is used depends on where the skin tag is located and the overall health of the individual patient. The three main types of in-office skin tag removal procedures include freezing, burning and surgical removal.
Freezing is done by spraying liquid nitrogen on the tag. This freezes the skin and effectively kills it. The tag may then be surgically removed with sterile surgical equipment or allowed to fall off on its own. Freezing may not be an option for skin tags on the genitals or near the eyes.
Burning is done with an electric medical cauterizer. Usually a local anesthesia is given unless there are many skin tags to be removed or the tag is exceptionally large and then the patient may need to go under general anesthetic. The skin tags darken and fall off soon after being burned.
Surgical removal can be done in office or in the hospital, depending on where the skin tags are. This is often the only option for genital tags since freezing or burning may damage healthy skin around the tag.
What About Do-it-yourself Wart Removal Products?
Never use over the counter wart removal sprays or liquids on skin tags. They will not work and may cause pain, severe irritation and damage to your healthy skin. Warts and skin tags are not the same and cannot be treated in the same way. Many wart removal products are mild acids which can cause pain and permanent scarring for people who use these products to remove skin tags.
If the skin tag is located underneath the breast, on the fingers or anywhere where it constantly rubs against clothes or skin, then this acid causes intense itching. Even a saint will not be able to resist scratching. Scratching breaks open the skin and can cause dangerous infections.
In order to avoid damaging healthy skin, causing permanent scars and dangerous internal infections, anyone with bothersome skin tags should see a medical professional with sterile equipment for skin tag removal. A doctor or dermatologist can also see if one of the tags should be closely examined for cancer. Skin tags are a type of skin tumor. Although they are usually benign, but it is always best to have them checked out to be sure they are not cancerous.
University of Maryland Medical Center. “Cutaneous Skin Tags.”
Web MD. “Slideshow: Common Adult Skin Problems.”
WiseGeek. “What are Genital Skin Tags?”