Skin Tags Treatment
in Calgary, AB
What Are Skin Tags?
Skin Tags are the common term that describes soft, harmless lesions that appear to hang off the skin. They tend to develop in skin folds and in areas of friction such as the underarms, neck, groin, eyelids, and under the breasts. They are also referred to as fibroepithelial polyps (FEPs) or acrochordons. Unlike a regular mole, these lesions have a small stalk that is barely attached to the surface of the skin (pedunculated) or a thin, thread-like appearance (filiform).
Skin tags are harmless but can be very annoying and cosmetically bothersome. They tend to increase with age and obese adults are more prone to developing them. Many people have only a few lesions, but unfortunately, some individuals can develop hundreds.
What causes skin tags to form?
Acrochordons, the clinical name for skin tags, seems a little over the top for these harmless skin growths. They are so harmless that they’ve had little research done into why we have them. They are basically a mystery. Because they typically occur in skin folds, there is a thought that friction could play a role. Skin tags are made up of blood vessels and collagen, surrounded by an outer layer of skin.
What little research is out there points to a possible link to the human papillomavirus (HPV). Insulin resistance, as in type 2 diabetes and prediabetes, may also play a role in the development of skin tags. One study found the presence of multiple skin tags associated with insulin resistance, high body mass indexes, and high triglycerides.
Skin tags are also common during pregnancy. This is likely due to hormones and weight gain.
Who is at risk for developing skin tags?
Since there seems to be an association with friction, skin tags are more likely to develop if you’re overweight. They also are common with pregnant women. Due to the insulin resistance association, skin tags are more likely on people with diabetes. And those with HPV are at a higher risk. It’s assumed that the human papillomavirus plays a role in their development.
Skin Tag Treatment
Skin tags are harmless, and they don’t require removal. They won’t turn into cancerous growths. But they can be unsightly and bothersome. If they occur in an area where you are constantly bumping or rubbing them, they can be painful.
You’ve heard or read about myriad home remedies, but we discussed why that may not be the best idea.
It’s a far better idea to come to see the board-certified dermatologists at Remington Laser Dermatology Centre.
These are the methods we use to remove skin tags:
- Surgery — This sounds more involved than it is. All we do is snip off the skin tag at its base with a pair of surgical scissors. To minimize any possible scarring and recurrence, we follow the snip excision with ablation of the base using our Ultrapulse CO2 Laser. Usually, only a tiny bandage is needed to close the spot afterward.
- Cauterization — We use low-level electrical current to heat and remove the skin tag. This burns off the skin tag at its base and seals the minor wound at the same time.
- Cryosurgery — We spray the skin tag with liquid nitrogen, which freezes the skin cells and causes the tag to fall off in a few days.
Will there be a scar where my skin tag was removed?
Freezing and cauterization don’t involve incisions, so they cannot leave a scar. While there is a minor incision made with our snip excisions, these are so small that if they do leave any semblance of a scar no one could see it.
Why shouldn’t I just snip this skin tag off at home?
Skin tags seem so wimpy that’s it tempting to go home and pluck, snip, or otherwise lop them off. The Internet says to put apple cider vinegar or tea tree oil on them. Or you can choke them with dental floss.
Probably a better idea to come see one of our three dermatologists at Remington to let us remove your skin tag. Here’s why.
- They bleed like nobody’s business — You’d be amazed at how much a snipped or pulled-off skin tag can bleed. The bleeding is hard to stop, and this can hurt quite a bit. Doesn’t seem appropriate for the growth, but there you go. When we freeze or cauterize a skin tag, that also closes the blood vessel.
- It may be something else — Not being a dermatologist, can you be sure that skin tag isn’t really a wart or even a skin cancer lesion? Pulling part of it off can leave cancer cells in place, and they can multiply or even spread. No good.
- They could lead to an infection — Because the bleeding can be so tough to stem, removing a skin tag at home is a way to invite infection. Do you know where those clippers have been?
It’s not that we’re being melodramatic here at Remington, but it’s probably a better idea to come see us and have us get rid of your skin tag in just a few minutes.
Can I prevent skin tags from forming?
Other than maintaining a healthy weight, there is no way to prevent skin tags from forming. They are probably the single most common bump on adult human skin.