Skin tags are very common, affecting more than 3 million Americans each year. These harmless, painless growths are most often found on the neck, chest, underarms, and eyelids. Skin tags typically present as a mere cosmetic concern. In some cases, however, irritation may occur, such as when clothing rubs against the growths.
Do you want to get rid of your skin tags? We can help at the Laser and Skin Surgery Center of Indiana (LASSI).
Do You Have Skin Tags?
It’s important to have any abnormal skin growth checked by a board-certified dermatologist. Don’t assume that your skin growths are skin tags. Abnormal skin spots and growths may be skin cancer or pre-cancerous growths. Please schedule yearly skin checks to make sure any abnormal, concerning moles or spots are properly diagnosed.
Skin Evaluation and Diagnosis
During your appointment, your dermatology provider will examine your skin to diagnose any spots or growths. If we determine you have skin tags, we will discuss your options for skin tag removal.
Removing Skin Tags
While you don’t need to remove skin tags, you may want to be rid of them because of their appearance or discomfort they cause. Skin tag removal is very straight forward and safe. Options include:
- Cutting the skin tags with surgical scissors or a scalpel
- High-frequency electrical energy to burn away the skin tag
- Ligation, a procedure using a surgical thread to tie off a growth until it falls off naturally
- Cryotherapy using liquid nitrogen to freeze and eliminate unwanted skin growths
Prior to the procedure, we may use injectable lidocaine to numb the area locally. This will ensure your comfort during the procedure. This varies, however, depending on the method of treatment and the size and number of skin tags being removed.
Can I Remove Skin Tags at Home?
Please don’t try to treat or remove skin tags at home. While some may rub off on their own by accident, trying to remove them yourself may cause bleeding, irritation, burns, or infection. It’s best to have a medical professional examine and treat your skin tags.
What Causes Skin Tags? Can I prevent them?
No one really knows why skin tags grow, but we do know what they’re made of; skin tags are primarily blood vessels and collagen with an outer layer of skin. We also know they typically appear in skin folds, which could be an indication that friction and build-up may be a factor. Cleansing and exfoliating regularly is recommended regardless and may aid in preventing skin tag growth.
Some people may be more prone to developing skin tags. According to studies, these conditions have been associated with skin tags:
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Insulin resistance, such as those seen in type-2 diabetes and prediabetes
- High body mass index
- Pregnancy, perhaps due to hormones and weight gain
- Hormone imbalance or endocrine issues
It’s also possible that skin tags are genetic, but they aren’t contagious.
Are Skin Tags a Sign of Skin Cancer?
No. Skin tags are not cancerous or precancers. However, some skin cancers may resemble skin tags. It’s always advisable to have any new growth examined by a board-certified dermatologist to make sure it’s a skin tag and not a sign of skin cancer.
Skin Tag Removal in Indianapolis at the LASSI
Any skin growth should be examined by a dermatology specialist, such as those here at the Laser and Skin Surgery Center of Indiana (LASSI) in Indianapolis. Led by board-certified dermatologic surgeon Dr. C. William Hanke, our team is able to diagnose and treat skin growths. While harmless and benign, your suspected skin tags should be check by a dermatologist to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment. Again, new skin growths should be checked to ensure it isn’t a precancerous or cancerous lesion.