Skin tags have been linked to diabetes. "We know that diabetics are more prone to them. More research is needed to know exactly why that is scientifically, but there’s some correlation that we observed with diabetes," says Geraghty. Though doctors don't fully understand why, the body's resistance to insulin might have something to do with it. So, if you have diabetes, you may be at an increased risk of developing skin tags.
Repetitive friction and wearing tight clothes may contribute to skin tags in people who are overweight. According to a medical paper written by dermatologists in Spain, an obese patient, whose job required repeating lifting of her arms, developed a pattern of skin tags along her bra straps from the constant friction. Avoiding tight clothing if you are overweight is suggested.
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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.
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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
Determine whether a biopsy is needed. At your appointment, the doctor will examine your mole's shape, borders, size, color, and surface texture, to see whether it appears to be cancerous. If the mole exhibits common symptoms of melanoma or another type of skin cancer, the doctor will order a biopsy to test whether cancer cells are present. If it doesn't, the doctor will be able to go ahead and remove the mole. The sample will often be sent for analysis even if the mole does not appear to be cancerous.
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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.
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.
There are a few methods that can be used in removing a mole. Factors such as depth, size and location will help determine the most effective removal method. Moles that are flush to the skin may be able to be removed using a simple shaving technique or a laser treatment. For deep-seated moles, excision is the only way to remove it safely and effectively. During this process, the doctor will cut away the mole along with a small border of skin that surrounds it. Sutures are placed deep within the excision so that a clean, thin scar will be all that remains.
Apply tea tree oil. This oil is well known for its anti-fungal properties. Get out a clean cotton ball. Dip it into clean water and then place three drops of tea tree oil onto the ball. Wash the area of the skin tag and the skin 1” around it using the cotton ball. Repeat three times a day. This is an effective way to dry up your tag as long as you are consistent with oil applications.
We’ve all suffered from skin imperfections. They’re our body’s natural response to factors, including hormonal imbalances, poor diet, unhealthy lifestyle, and too much sun exposure. It is a normal thing to want to get rid of these blemishes, but store bought cures and remedies can be expensive. The best way to free yourself from these lesions is to educate yourselves. There are many “do it yourself” methods that will help clear up your skin while keeping your dollars in your pocket.
I went on my way after my doctor’s appointment, relieved. But maybe I shouldn’t have been. Many doctors I've spoken to say people with obesity are more likely to get skin tags due to the increase in skin friction. I probably weighed 120 pounds (lbs) booted out in snow gear. But there are other risk factors for skin tags — factors that, if you’re suffering from them, may be worth investigating.