Skin Tags: Treatment and prevention
Skin tags are benign growths on the skin with a small stalk. They are often flesh-colored or darker. The cause of skin tags is unknown, but friction from skin against skin can lead to skin tags. They often appear in folds of the skin, such as eyelids, underarms, and the neck. While skin tags are generally painless, they may become irritated by clothing rubbing against the skin tag.
Skin tags are usually harmless, but they may be indicators of hormonal or endocrine syndromes, such as acromegaly or polycystic ovary syndrome. Some serious skin conditions can imitate the appearance of skin tags, such as skin cancer, including melanomas, and benign conditions like seborrheic keratosis or moles. Your Water’s Edge dermatologist will submit your skin tag for testing if an underlying condition is suspected. Reasons to remove skin tags:
- Your skin tag is unsightly
- Your skin tag is irritated by clothing or jewelry
- Your dermatologist suspects an underlying condition
Skin Tag Treatment
Water’s Edge Dermatology offers several options for treating skin tags, including:
- Surgical excision: Your Water’s Edge dermatologist will use sterile, surgical scissors to cut off the skin tag.
- Cryotherapy: The skin tag is frozen at the base with liquid nitrogen, causing the skin tag to fall off.
- Cauterization: Your skin tag will be burned off with a cautery, causing the skin tag to fall off while sealing the wound to prevent infection or bleeding.
- Ligation: A suture is tied around the base until the skin tag falls off.
A medical dermatologist should always perform skin tag treatment to prevent local infections or excess bleeding from occurring. Depending on the size, number, and location of skin tags, anesthesia may be required. Attempting to self-treat skin tags can cause complications, or you could miss an underlying condition. If a skin tag is not properly removed, there is also a risk of skin discoloration.
Preventing Skin Tags
Skin tags cannot be prevented, but they are more common in older adults and those who are overweight or have diabetes. Steps to reduce your likelihood of developing skin tags:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Avoid wearing clothing or jewelry that causes excess rubbing against the skin