How Are Skin Tags Treated?
It’s always most advisable to have your dermatologist remove any skin tags you have, and there are instances in which skin tags occurring on the eyelid or in the eye area are best removed by an ophthalmologist.
If you’ve heard from trying-to-help friends or colleagues that removing skin tags will cause more skin tags to grow, be aware that there is no medical evidence that having skin tags removed will cause a greater skin tag problem. The person who shared that advice with you, from personal experience, may simply be one of those people who’s prone to developing skin tags, and would have experienced more of them with or without having any skin tags removed.
You need to beware of helpful friend advice, as well as checking out online message boards, since that’s where the frightening misinformation is prevalent, and bad advice can cause you to ignore skin tags that really should be removed, or attempting to remove your own skin tags with scissors or by trying to tie off your skin tags to cause them to fall off. As in most cases, self-treatment can lead to larger problems, including infection.
When you’re ready for your dermatologist to remove your skin tags safely and with minimal damage to the surrounding areas of your skin, your doctor will decide between the most effective, safe and minimally painful treatments for skin tags:
- Cutting skin tags off with a scalpel or medical scissors
- Freezing the skin tags off with liquid nitrogen (cryosurgery.)
- Burning the skin tags off with an electric current (electrosurgery.)
In most cases, small skin tags may be removed without the need for any anesthesia, and larger growths or clusters of skin tags slated for removal may call for local anesthesia (injected Lidocaine) prior to removal.
Your dermatologist might opt for the application of a topical anesthesia cream such as Betacaine cream or LMX 5% cream) prior to your skin tag removal procedure, and depending on your tolerance for discomfort.
With your comfort aided, your skin tags may be safely removed, and the problem eliminated quickly and in your dermatologist’s office, with little to no downtime.
You do, though, need to know what to expect after your skin tag removal treatment. When your doctor removes your skin tags with a scalpel or scissors, a bandage will help stop any minor bleeding, and you’ll need to keep the treated area clean and protected from irritation, following your doctor’s orders regarding bandage removal timing and perhaps avoiding any scented skin cleansers or lotions for a certain amount of time after your procedure.
If your doctor opts for a freezing or burning treatment of your skin tags, you might experience temporary skin discoloration, and again must conform to your doctor’s post-treatment care guidelines to help your treated area heal well.
Are there any creams that remove skin tags?
While you may have spotted some skin tag treatment creams in your beauty supply store, or heard from your aesthetician about all-natural skin tag removal creams, there are currently no medically-approved creams for the removal of skin tags. Dermatologists do not recommend unapproved treatments like wart removal creams, tea tree oil, or hair-removal creams. And, inexplicably, some of the unusual and unadvised home remedies seen online include nail polish remover and toothpaste – neither of which are advised for safe removal of skin tags.
It’s always best to have your or your loved one’s skin tags removed by a board-certified dermatologist who has experience in assessing and removing skin tags. A trained medical eye can see best if a growth is indeed a skin tag, or another condition such as a squamous cell carcinoma (skin cancer) that looks and feels very much like a skin tag. But is not.
Your dermatologist may decide to send a skin tag sample for laboratory testing, to be on the safe side and to protect your health. So even with a skin issue as seemingly harmless as a skin tag, the investment in visiting your dermatologist can be one of the greatest investments you’ll make.
And removing skin tags can return you to feeling confident quickly.