Researchers have noticed that people with diabetes and insulin resistance are more likely to have multiple skin tags. Obesity seems to increase the risk, too. Studies have found that the heavier people are, the more skin tags they are likely to have. That may be because skin tags are more likely to pop up in folds of skin that rub against each other.
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Moles are pigmented skin growths, also called nevi, that can appear anywhere on the body singly or in groups. Almost all adults have at least a few and some may have up to 40. Normally appearing as a dark brown spot, a mole may also be blue, black, pink or flesh-colored or may be raised and highly visible. Some may change over time or even gradually disappear. Whatever their color or shape, most moles are harmless and cause no symptoms other than discomfort when they rub against something.
A topical application of liquid iodine may help remove skin tags. It works by breaking down skin cells, so it is extremely important that you only apply to the skin tag and avoid the healthy surrounding skin. To be safe, carefully apply coconut oil to a one-half inch area around the skin tag to create a barrier. Then apply a couple of drops of iodine with a sterile cotton swab. Repeat twice each day until the skin tag falls off.
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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.
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.
If you are wanting a mole removed for cosmetic reasons, it is important you first consult with a board certified dermatologist to ensure the mole is not concerning for melanoma. Once the mole has been assessed and deemed to appear benign on clinical inspection, a discussion should be had on whether a shave removal, punch biopsy or excision would have the best cosmetic outcome. With elevated moles a shave removal is usually performed which can leave a good cosmetic result in most cases. For flat moles, punch biopsy or excision is usually performed, but you should have a discussion with your dermatologist on whether the scar or mole will be more cosmetically appealing. At our office, shave removal of one mole is typically quoted at $138 to $200. Lastly, it is important the mole be sent for pathology to a board certified dermatopathologist. Pathology is charged separately by the dermaopathologist with prices ranging from $100 to $300.
Dr Yip notes that while it’s uncommon to experience an infected skin tag, it’s likely they may become red, inflamed and itchy if they're constantly rubbing against clothing and jewellery. “If there is infection, it is usually red, swollen and painful and may have pus discharge and a malodour [an unpleasant odour].” If this occurs, apply an antiseptic cream to mild irritations or see a dermatologist if the pain is more severe.
While they can turn up anywhere, skin tags tend to appear where there is frequent friction, such as the neck, breasts, groin, and underarms. Ultimately, there is no evidence that skin tags will lead to any serious skin condition: They’re mostly an aesthetic annoyance. Regardless, most dermatologists encourage you to have them checked out—and removed, if you want. The only link to danger is from one study from the Indian Journal of Dermatology, which suggested that skin tags may be a sign of underlying heart issues. You could get your heart checked out, but the one research connection shouldn’t concern anyone too much.
Other skin conditions such as warts and moles can resemble skin tags. Since some moles may be cancerous, it’s best to have your skin tags examined by a doctor. Your dermatologist or family doctor will be able to diagnose skin tags. They’ll likely do this through a visual exam. If they have any doubt about the diagnosis, they may also perform a biopsy.