What Are Skin Tags and How Can You Remove Them?

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Skin tags are growths that form on the skin and are extremely common. Chances are you’ve had a skin tag yourself or you know someone that has. These little growths are connected to the body by a thin stalk, which is called a peduncle. The tag itself is made up of blood vessels and collagen that are housed inside a layer of skin.

While the appearance of skin tags are common, the rate at which they develop can increase after the age of 50. As for where they generally form, the most common areas are usually where your skin folds. For example, your armpits, groin, eyelids, neck, thighs and under breasts.

What Causes Skin Tags?

Skin tags might be common and pretty run-of-the-mill, but what causes them and are they preventable? Unfortunately, it’s not quite known what causes skin tags. According to Healthline, it’s believed that friction could play a role given they usually appear in skin folds.

Other studies have found that skin tags could also be linked to the human papillomavirus (HPV), insulin resistance and pregnancy, but nothing concrete has been established as for a specific cause. It’s not unusual for many people in one family to develop skin tags, so they could also be genetic!

How to Remove Skin Tags

While skin tags are pretty small and harmless, it’s understandable if you’d prefer to have them removed. There are a number of ways you can do this, with both DIY and medical options but we’re simply going to detail the latter as that is the safest and easiest course of action.

Cryotherapy: One of the most common ways a doctor will remove a skin tag is with liquid nitrogen, which is also known as cryotherapy. After blasting the area with freezing liquid nitrogen, the tag should fall off within two weeks of the treatment.

Surgical Removal: Another option is to have the skin tag cut off with scissors or a scalpel by a doctor. The doctor will number the area before snipping the tag off with special scissors that involve heat in order to cauterise the blood vessel. This is a good option for those who want to get rid of the tag immediately.

Electrical Energy: Your doctor could also opt for electrosurgery, which involves using high-frequency electrical energy to burn the tag off the skin. This process works by delivering an electric current into the skin, which causes damage to the stalk of the skin tag. The end result is the drying out of the tissue connecting the skin tag so it will eventually fall off after the treatment.

Once the tag is removed or falls off, it shouldn’t reappear in the same spot, but others can pop up in other areas of the body. If you’re not sure which option works best for you, make an appointment with your doctor to talk about it, or consider booking in to see a dermatologist, who specialises in skin-related concerns like skin tags.

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