Not sure if your skin lesion is actually a wart? Dr Yip explains how to tell the two apart: “A skin tag is usually soft and hangs off the skin with a narrow base. Warts are rough, scaly and raised bumps on the skin surface caused by viruses, therefore they can spread easily to other body areas and may be contagious to others.” If you can’t figure out which one has taken up residence on your body, it’s best to see your GP or dermatologist. Moles can also look similar to skin tags, so when in doubt (as some moles can be cancerous), it’s always best to get them checked by a skin professional.
Make a dermatologist appointment. The majority of skin tags are harmless, but it is best to talk with a dermatologist if you notice that the tag is darker than your skin color, large in size, or unusual in shape. If you remove the tag without consulting a professional you could lose valuable time in the event that it is a sign of a larger problem.
Essential oils contain anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that may help remove skin tags naturally. One solution that's becoming popular is the use of tea tree oil, which is a potent product derived from the Melaleuca alternifolia tree from Australia.19 This plant has been studied extensively, with research pointing out that it can help fight bacteria,20 fungi21 and viruses.22 Furthermore, other experts note that tea tree oil contains anti-inflammatory properties.23,24,25
If patients have a large number of skin tags or if the lesions are bothersome, then GP treatments include cryotherapy (with liquid nitrogen), surgical excision or burning off the skin tag with a Hyfrecator (an electrosurgical device). Both surgical excision and hyfrecation give instant results. With cryotherapy patients will often need a few treatments before the lesions completely clear.
So you’ve decided that your skin tag is bothering you. As long as the tag is not infected or near a sensitive area, you can treat it yourself at home. Below, you can read about three of the best skin tag removal methods that you can try in the comfort and convenience of your own home. The fourth method is not recommended for home use, though many still attempt to try it despite its dangers.
Skin tags, medically known as acrochordons, are soft, skin colored flaps of skin that extend out from various parts on your body. They generally do not cause pain unless rubbed frequently or twisted, and are not a medical threat. Most doctors advise to leave skin tags alone unless you are intent on removing them. If you would like to remove your skin tags, you can visit your doctor’s office to discuss your options. You can also apply natural oils or mixtures to your tag in the hopes of drying it out until it eventually falls off. If you have a growth that is too firm to wiggle, is a different color than your surrounding skin, has raw or bleeding areas, or causes you pain, consult with your doctor immediately to determine if the growth is more critical than a skin tag.
Soft, fleshy growths that hang from the skin are commonly referred to as skin tags. Acrochordons — as they are referred to within the medical community — are not cancerous. They are generally considered a cosmetic concern, not a medical issue. They rarely cause pain or discomfort. But many people find them unsightly and want to know how to remove skin tags. (1)
As for the discomfort factor: “The treatment stings for a few seconds, and it turns the area red and inflamed. Some people form little blisters or scab over in the few days after it, as the extreme cold has destroyed the skin cells in order to make the skin tag go away. So that’s my go-to if they’re very small, like a tiny, fleshy bump of a skin tag.
Cindy Crawford has a mole, and Marilyn Monroe had one. In the Renaissance era, they were thought of as beauty enhancers, but if a mole is unsightly or bothersome, it is worth having it removed. Madonna had a mole and didn’t like the way it looked, so she had it removed. Benign moles can be removed easily with minimal risk of scarring thanks to modern techniques.
One final cost is pathology to determine if the mole is cancerous or precancerous. This isn't usually necessary if the mole has been there a very long time. If the mole is new, has changed recently, or has other suspicious features like bleeding, your health insurance should cover the cost of removal and pathology. If you don't have insurance or if you prefer to have a mole sent even when it's being removed for purely cosmetic reasons, then pathology will cost an additional $125-200.
Tie it off. You can use fishing line, dental floss, or a thin cotton string in this method. Tie the string around the base of your skin tag. Tighten the tie until it is firm, but not painful. Snip off the excess and leave the string in place. Your skin tag should fall off due to lack of circulation. This is a version of what doctors can perform in their office using sterile tools.
Moles are extremely common skin growths, most adults have from 10 to 40 moles, and they can develop on virtually any part of the body. They may be flat or raised, and nearly color brown, black, pink, red, white, purple, blue, or flesh colored. Most moles are non-cancerous (benign), and no cause for concern. However, a mole can sometimes develop into melanoma, a dangerous form of skin cancer.
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If the procedure is for cosmetic purposes, then it is unlikely that insurance will pay for the costs. Most cosmetic procedures are not valid for insurance coverage. If the mole is diagnosed as cancerous, insurance will most likely cover the removal. As soon as the mole is evaluated by the doctor, we will verify insurance to make certain of any coverage that may exist.
Recognize the benefits of professional medical care. It is very tempting to treat skin tags at home, but your doctor’s care offers some unique benefits. They will use sterile instruments to prevent infection. They will also rub on numbing cream to reduce your pain during and after the procedure. In addition, some of the methods, such as cauterization, are so advanced that they rarely leave a noticeable scar.
Acrochordons are harmless and do not require removal. Typical skin tags can be removed for comfort or cosmetic purposes either by scissor excision, electrocautery (burning), or cryosurgery (freezing). Skin tags with long, narrow stalks can become twisted, cutting off the blood supply and abruptly turning the tag dark brown or black. If a skin tag appears that it is changing or becomes painful, it should be examined by a dermatologist to exclude other, potentially harmful diagnoses.
Shaving: A combination treatment that uses electrocautery and shaving to reduce the appearance of protruding moles. Mole shaving does not remove the root of the mole, so there is no excision scar, however there is a chance it will grow back over time. This procedure is most commonly used on protruding moles in areas that do not heal well with excision (nose).
The internet, of course, is full of interesting suggestions, including tying the stalk of a skin tag with dental floss or thread in an attempt to strangulate it and make it fall off. This, too, is a recipe for traumatizing your skin. Don't fall for sites hocking skin tag removal products. The right way to remove a skin tag is at the dermatologist's office. If you've been Googling "how to remove skin tags at home," you might as well stop.
But skin tags are generally benign, so I’ll probably just live with it. The same way I live with the ones on my genitals — a story I can now look back on and laugh at. Skin tags. I thought I’d contracted some disease as yet unknown to science, but really, I had skin tags. No wonder that poor ob-gyn almost laughed me out of the stirrups. Because if there’s one things that’s true, it’s that about half of us have skin tags — whether you can see them or not.