Skin tags are common, benign skin growths that look like a small soft balloon, tab or “flap” of hanging skin that usually appear on areas where there is skin friction. The most common places are on the neck, under the breast and underarms, and between the inner thighs. Skin tags are harmless growths that can vary in number from one to hundreds. Males and females are equally prone to developing skin tags.
Skin tags are thought to be hereditary or acquired over time. Increased body weight and hormonal elevations such as pregnancy can also contribute. While most tags typically are small (2 mm-5 mm in diameter) at approximately one-third to one-half the size of a pinky fingernail, some skin tags may become as large as a big grape (1 cm in diameter) or a fig (5 cm in diameter).
Skin tags can be easily removed in the office. Local anesthesia is used to make the removal painless. There are several effective medical ways to remove a skin tag, including removing with scissors, freezing (using liquid nitrogen), and burning (using medical electric cautery at the physician’s office).
Electro cauterization is a process in which an instrument is heated electrically and then applied to the skin tag to burn its cells. This is a popular and very effective treatment used for the safe removal of skin tags. It is a simple and straightforward technique that requires no surgical involvement or downtime to the patient.
At Skin MD and Beyond, the treatment is performed by Dr. Wright and it involves the following steps.
- The area is cleaned throughout
- The area is numbed by means of local anesthetic.
- The needle is heated and then put over the skin tag
- The contact of the needle with the tag burns its cell.
- The burnt cells are then removed from the area.
- A bandage may be applied to areas of friction.
Liquid Nitrogen / Cryotherapy
Cryotherapy is best suited for use in patients with light skin and for treatment of lesions in most non–hair-bearing areas of the body. Cryotherapy (freezing skin tags) is a quick and relatively painless treatment for small skin tags. The technique involves spraying liquid nitrogen onto the tag or applying the liquid with a Q-tip. Cryosurgery requires little time and fits easily into your daily schedule. To learn more click here.