When you first notice it, a skin tag can be alarming. Especially if it’s somewhere visible. Worries of how long it’s been there and health concerns are common. Fortunately, skin tags are not a health concern.
The biggest concern with skin tags is cosmetic. They’re unsightly and can affect confidence and self-esteem – especially if they’re on your face or neck where everyone can see.
What Are Skin Tags?
For adults, skin tags are the most common type of cosmetic skin lesion. They’re small, tag-like growths that hang off the skin. They are loose collagen and blood vessels wrapped in skin. They tend to grow on folds, most often appearing on the:
- Under the breasts
Sometimes skin tags are mistaken for warts. However, there are a few key differences. The main one is that a wart is raised or flat, whereas a skin tag hangs. As well, skin tags are smooth, rather than the rough surface of a wart. As well, skin tags are not contagious.
Although they are not dangerous, they are unsightly. To avoid skin tags, it helps to understand what causes them.
What Causes Skin Tags?
Although genetics do play a role in susceptibility to skin tags, anyone can get them. They appear when skin traps collagen (a naturally occurring protein) and blood vessels. This creates a hanging growth. Since they show up mostly on folds, it’s believed friction plays a role in their development.
There are a few risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing skin tags. People who are pregnant, obese, or diabetic are more likely to develop cosmetic skin lesions. As well, imbalances are a frequently cited cause of skin tags. For example, imbalances of:
Although they are strictly a cosmetic concern, they are sometimes a symptom of another problem. If you have a skin tag, it’s best to visit a doctor or plastic surgeon. This is because they can happen as a result of issues like high cholesterol, hypertension, or even HPV.
Skin Tag Removal Procedures
Although skin tags sometimes fall off on their own, most of us don’t want to wait and see. There are a number of skin tag removal treatments ranging from OTC freezing and home remedies to surgical removal. We always recommend visiting a doctor or plastic surgeon before trying to remove them yourself.
For small skin tags, techniques like over-the-counter freezing kits can sometimes work. However, if freezing or burning won’t always work. Instead, they can simply result in irritation and temporary skin damage.
Home remedies are available all over the internet. These range from apple cider soaks to cutting them off with scissors. Cutting off the skin tags yourselves does leave you at a higher risk of infection or incomplete removal. And apple cider is unproven to show consistent results.
The best and most reliable way to remove skin tags is by visiting a plastic surgeon. A plastic surgeon analyzes your skin tag(s) and usually recommends one of 4 treatments:
- Cryotherapy: Freezing off the tags (takes up to ten days).
- Electrosurgery: Burn off the tag at the base (immediate results).
- Litigation: Cut off blood flow to the lesion (takes up to 2 weeks).
- Surgical Removal: Cut off the skin tag (immediate results).
The fastest removal is generally surgical removal. However, the plastic surgeon will consider your skin as well as the shape and size of the skin tag to recommend the right treatment.
Skin Tag Prevention
A skin tag doesn’t grow back after removal. However, if you get one, you know you’re susceptible for more. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to minimize that risk. Since being overweight or obese increases risk, healthy exercise and diet are a key prevention method.
As well, avoid irritating clothing or jewellery. Jewellery with a high nickel content are often allergenic can irritate your skin. As well, avoid any clothing that causes discomfort on your skin. If a material causes itchiness or redness, it’s best to avoid it.
Another simple way to prevent cosmetic lesions is simply keeping your skin folds dry. After showering, pat your body completely dry with a towel. You can also use baby powder in any areas where moisture tends to appear (ex. armpits).
Newmarket Skin Tag Removal Clinic
Do you have a skin tag or other cosmetic skin lesion that needs to go? PSSC is your solution for skin tag removal in Newmarket. Visit our plastic surgeon skin care specialists for safe, effective, and professional service.
Book your skin tag removal today!