Have you ever gotten a bump on your skin and thought, what is that? We’ve been there too, plenty of times. While more often than not we go about ignoring our blemishes, there are some bumps that are worth making an appointment with the dermatologist. One example is skin tags. Not moles nor pimples, these tiny little bumps of tissue might look worrisome, but Michele Farber, MD, of Schweiger Dermatology Group says so is not the case. While skin tags are benign, for cosmetic reasons, Farber says many people have them removed. Intrigued by these common bumps, we asked Farber and Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, MD, clinical attending at Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine and dermatologist at Marmur Medical, just how to remove skin tags.
Since it is unlikely for skin tags to go away on their own, the only way to get rid of them is in-office removal. While that doesn’t sound the most pleasant, the process is relatively painless, says Levin. To learn more about skin tags as well as how to remove them, keep reading.
How to Remove Skin Tags
According to Levin, skin tags happen for a variety of reasons, some of which include genetics, obesity, friction, and pregnancy. Farber adds that they are also a common sign of aging. Since skin tags do in fact happen, and there is no surefire way to prevent them, you have two options: to live with them or have a dermatologist remove them.
If you are looking to remove your skin tags, Levin recommends doing so in-office with a dermatologist, as at-home removal can cause scarring and possible infection. The dermatologist will then decide to either clip or freeze the tag. Farber says that smaller lesions are frozen off with liquid nitrogen, while larger tags are clipped with sterile scissors, but not before numbing cream is applied, of course.
Are There Side Effects?
So just what are the side effects of removing skin tags? According to Farber, if the lesion is larger, there is a possibility of a faint scar. But other than that, the procedure is fairly safe with zero downtime. And if you are wondering whether or not your tags will grow back, no need to worry. Levin says there is no truth to that myth whatsoever.
Can You Remove Skin Tags Naturally?
While dermatologists don't recommend removing skin tags at home, there are a few natural skin tag remedies, the most successful being an apple cider vinegar or tea tree oil soak. While both are effective, Apothecary Extracts 100% Pure Tea Tree Oil ($28) is antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, which makes it less likely to cause an infection. Once you have bought your liquid of choice, soak a cotton ball in the liquid and then lightly rub over the skin tag in circular motions. Do this a couple times a day, and in a few weeks' time, the skin tag should die and fall off. While this process seems relatively simple, if the lesion is large, natural treatments can still leave scars.
To promote healing after skin tag removal of any kind, scroll down for the dermatologist-recommended creams to use so as not to scar.
Levin’s favorite product to use following a procedure is this silicone gel, which she says hydrates the scar while also creating the proper environment for it to heal and produce collagen. Plus, the added SPF protects from the sun, which is important, as Levin says the sun is a major factor in poor wound healing being that ultraviolet radiation can cause discoloration.
While this cream doesn’t create a protective layer over the wound like a gel would, it is a cost-effective product that fades discoloration and or scarring following a procedure.
Similar to BioCorneum’s scar gel, this soothing, lightweight gel from SkinMedica promotes healing following a procedure while also reducing the appearance of scars. However, this formula does not contain sunscreen, so make sure to be extra careful, and use sun protection when you go outside.