Skin Care: SKIN TAGS: Removing Skin Tags

Removing Skin Tags

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Skin Tags

Removing Skin Tags

You know the old saying. When you hit 30, your body does things it never used to do. Like growing all sorts of sorts of "age spots". The corollary to this classic saying; knowing that the older one gets, the more “spots” one makes! With that positive thought in mind, it’s reassuring news that for skin tags, at least, there is something you can do about it.

Skin Tags: Taggin’ Along…

Sure skin tags are benign, (and ugly). They tend to form along the neckline, under arms, beneath the breasts, eyelids, and may even arise in the groin. Where there’s one, there’s often many. These soft, fleshy bumps hang off the skin’s surface by a stalk, hence the slang “tag” (for medical purists, the term is achrochordon). From uniformly flesh toned to a multihued palette, size can also vary from barely visible to mammoth.

Most hate their skin tags for both the aesthetics as well as the potential daily irritation they present from friction due to clothing and jewelry. Usually the worst things that can happen are a bit of local trauma or falling victim to a necklace, zipper or razor. But why live with them?

Skin Tags: Tag Sale

Most medical insurance companies stopped paying for the removal of skin tags, relegating them into the “cosmetic” or “medically unnecessary” category. However, paying for tag removal by a dermatologist is practically a bargain (at least compared to other procedures). Costs vary, but budget approximately $150.00 to have up to 15 skin tags removed.

Skin Tags: Snip It In The Bud

Instant gratification is the name of the game when it comes to having tags removed. No messy goo to use at home; no endless weekly doctor office visits. It really is a case of “snip and run”.

The tiniest of tags are typically literally snipped off without the use of anesthetic (sometimes a topical like Betacaine or LMX 4% Topical Anesthetic Cream may be used). These baby tags don’t tend to bleed much, if at all, so cauterization is unnecessary (and hence the use of injectable anesthetic). And typically, having tags trimmed in this manner is less painful than enduring a series of teeny little local injections (tags tend to cluster).

For larger tags (with good sized stalks), or in locations notorious for all day oozing (like the underarms) I will frequently inject a little local anesthetic at the base of each tag and cauterize the area lightly once it’s been removed.

While you may leave the doctor’s office covered in spot Band-Aids, often they can be removed by day’s end. Healing is typically quite rapid as this is a relatively minor procedure. If you can actually find evidence of the removal site the next day, keep the sites clean with the use of hydrogen peroxide and antibiotic ointment like Polysporin Ointment.

Scar formation is rarely an issue (unless one is a keloid former, in which case, undertake skin tag removal as all elective skin surgery with caution). After all, skin tag removal is only as deep as a superficial cut. While products like Mederma can certainly be used on healed areas, this is not usually necessary. Minor skin trauma can of course leave residual discoloration. For anyone with a darker skin tone (ranging from olive to African American), Mederma may help alleviate some of this.

Perhaps I have made this sound a bit simplistic because from a doctor’s point of view, it is. But I don’t advocate having someone in your local salon or spa play doctor. Nor do I think that home surgery is something to indulge in. The old home remedy of tying thread at the base of a skin tag, creating slow strangulation, can help with some of the smallest tags but may be more prolonged and difficult to actually do than it sounds.

Skin Tags: Tag Line

It is important to remember that like other aging issues, growing skin tags is one of life’s chronic annoyances. Maintenance is likely in your future. Periodic removal of new growths helps keep skin feeling smooth and looking more youthful. Not to mention making removal sessions more tolerable.

Thank you for taking the time to read my newsletter about Stretch Marks. As always, I hope you have found it informative.

Audrey Kunin, M.D.

(Any topic discussed in the this newsletter is not intended as medical advice. If you have a medical concern, please check with your doctor.)

Article updated September 22, 2002.
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DERMA Doctor, Inc.


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