A mole, known by the medical term nevus, is a brown or black growth that occurs on the skin when cells grow in a cluster, rather than spread out. Moles, which can appear anywhere on the skin’s surface, may be present at birth or develop later in life. Over time, some moles change, others disappear and still others remain the same. People with fair complexions, red or blond hair, and blue or green eyes are more apt to have moles.
As noted above, it is possible to remove a mole by "shaving" it off. Shaving a mole offers the advantage of not having sutures, but has the clear disadvantage that if the mole extends beneath the surface of the skin, as most do, it will predictably grow back, usually within weeks of being shaved off. It is for this reason that Dr. Rapaport usually does not recommend shaving off moles. Many patients who go to a dermatologist complaining of moles will end up having the moles shaved, because many dermatologists are not comfortable with performing excisions and fine suture closure. Many dermatologists deal with these moles by performing what is called a “deep shave.” This means that the lesion is essentially “scooped out,” with the shave extending lower than the surface of the skin. While this is more likely than a flat shave to remove the entire mole, the resulting scar is generally quite unfavorable, appearing as an indentation in the skin, much like a chicken pox scar. Dr. Rapaport does not perform deep shaves for the reasons noted above.
Experts don't know the exact cause of skin tags, but they believe that these growths appear when skin rubs against skin. As such, skin tags are often found in armpits, or on the neck and groin.9 In other cases, your skin tag may be confused with a condition known as the Birt-Hogg-Dube (BHD) syndrome, a condition that produces growths on the skin that look exactly like skin tags.10
After-care is vital to achieve excellent outcomes. Dr. Lam does not charge extra for this care but believes it is important for you to return several times throughout the year to ensure proper healing. It may be only 1 to 2 times but typically 4 to 6 times over a year about every 1 to 2 months depending on how the wound heals. Dr. Lam uses KTP laser (no downtime) to manage any raised or red scars and injectable scar dissolvers also as needed. He may also further refine the incision with dermabrasion or micro silicone injections to ultimately finesse the result, again only as needed and without charge.
Burning the skin tag. If cutting or freezing the tag off isn’t an option, the dermatologist may burn the skin tag off. The skin tag and surrounding area will be cleaned. The doctor then uses a small piece of wire that is heated with an electrical current to burn the stalk of the tag. The heat will help prevent the skin tag from bleeding. The tag should fall off following the procedure.
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.
The implications of this differentiation help someone understand whether mole removal is covered by health insurance. So, cosmetic removal or removal of a mole because it is unsighly is not medically necessary and insurance will not cover this whereas insurance will cover the suspicious appearing mole. Regardless, the cost of mole removal will vary anywhere from $100 to $500 based upon size, location and shape.
Some doctors said skin tags wouldn’t grow. Some told me they would keep growing. Most of them said they would increase in frequency as a person ages, and sure enough, what did I find over my eyelid the other day — a tiny little skin tag, just where the lid rubs against my brow. For cosmetic reasons, I’d consider getting that one removed, though the thought of liquid nitrogen on that thin skin makes me shudder, as do the aesthetics of a giant Band-Aid on my face for days.
Skin tags are thought to be caused by collagen and blood vessels that bunch together and get caught inside thicker skin. As skin tags more commonly occur in skin creases or fold, it is believed they are mainly caused by skin rubbing against skin. However, no one knows for sure. Skin tags affect all people of any gender. However, some people are at a higher risk for developing skin tags. You may be more likely to develop skin tags if any of the following applies to you:
My skin tags, of course — like the skin tags of millions of people — were fine. They didn’t irritate or bother me, though some doctors mentioned them getting twisted in necklace or irritated by rubbing on clothing. When that happens, or for cosmetic reasons, skin tags are easily removed. “There are several methods of removal — clip them with sharp scissors; freeze them with liquid nitrogen; or burn them off with heat,” meaning cauterize them, Dr. Besser says. (All of this should be performed by a medical professional, not at home.)
It is important to stress that any changes in your skin, including moles and skin tags, should be looked at by your physician or dermatologist to rule out skin cancer including melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma. Routinely check your skin for any changes, and photograph areas of concern so you can keep track of any variations easily.
The cost to remove a mole is variable depending on the body location and nature of the mole. Some moles are best treated by excision with stitching. Flat moles that are not raised off the skin surface are a good example of this since trying to shave the mole could involve getting too deep into the skin and leave a "divot" or ice-pick type scar without suturing the area closed. Moles that are more raised off the skin can usually be shaved off but may also benefit from suturing to refine the scar/blemish that forms especially if on the face or other highly exposed areas. The cost will range from $200 - $350 depending on the technique used. One thing to always keep in mind is that a genuine mole should never be simply ablated, such as with laser, liquid nitrogen or radio-frequency without a biopsy being done first to ensure the mole is safe. Otherwise, an ablation type treatment may simply mask the remnants of the mole that is destined to form a melanoma.
As far as other DIY methods for skin tag removal at home, such as applying apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, tea tree oil, etc., Geraghty notes that there's no compelling evidence to show that those therapies are effective. "You can't make tissue disappear by putting a little vinegar on it. It just doesn’t work... You really need that to physically be removed."
Tying a String. For an elongated skin tag, your physician may tie a sterile string around the base to cut off the blood supply, causing the skin tag to die. As skin tags do have a blood supply of their own and doing this technique improperly can cause excessive bleeding, it is not recommended to do this yourself. When deciding how to remove skin tags, there are other safe and effective at-home treatments you can try.
Widely known as a very acidic agent, tea tree oil becomes one of the most impressive ways on how to get rid of skin tags fast and naturally. It will help dry out the skin tags and make them fall off the skin without causing any pain. In addition, the antiseptic present in tea tree oil protects effectively the skin as the tag is significantly eliminated.
Skin cancers occur when skin cells undergo malignant transformations and grow into tumors. The most common types of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, are highly curable when they are diagnosed and treated early. Sun exposure, tanning beds, depressed immune system, radiation exposure, and certain viral infections are risk factors for skin cancer. Skin cancers are treated with surgery or radiation. The prognosis of nonmelanoma skin cancers is generally very good.
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
The last issue to consider with the cost of mole removal is the charge for pathology. All moles, no matter how benign they may appear, should be sent for pathological study to confirm their histology. Finally, mole removal is basically elective and cosmetic when the mole appears clinically benign;however, if your dermatologist has suspicions or doubts regarding the benignity of the mole, then he is performing a medically indicated excisional biopsy.
This content is strictly the opinion of Dr. Josh Axe and is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Axe nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.
Factors associated with pregnancy are setup for skin tags. The body is in a general state of growth during pregnancy and all kinds of skin lesions grow during this time. That state of growth, coupled with a heavier-than-normal body weight and possible gestational diabetes (which may be correlated to skin tags), and increased friction in areas of rubbing, like the inner thighs or underarms, can all lead to skin tags during pregnancy.
And I was getting them exactly where I was expected to. Michele Farber, MD, of Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City, says they can happen anywhere, but “they are normally on the neck, underarms, [and] underneath the breasts and the groin folds.” Cynthia Abbott, MD, who works with Dermatology Affiliates in Marietta, Georgia, says that while “skin tags are an outgrowth of skin most commonly occurring due to constant rubbing and irritation,” that they “can form anywhere, but the waistline, underarms, groin, neck, and other areas of friction with necklaces and clothes are the most common locations.”