Skin tags, medically known as acrochordons, are harmless in most cases but can be treated safely with by a dermatologist via skin tag removal treatments.
A skin tag is a skin growth made of collagen and blood vessels. As a noncancerous growth, a skin tag can appear anywhere on the body measuring between one to five millimetres in size.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Skin Tags?
While the description of a skin tag may appear to be easily recognized, they may be mistaken for other growths associated with other skin conditions. These can be, but are not limited to, seborrheic keratosis, molluscum contagiosum, benign melanocytic nevi, neurofibromas, basal cell carcinoma, or warts.
A skin tag is a soft growth that can appear as flesh-coloured, grey, brown, or even black. It has a peduncle resembling a small stalk that attaches it to the surface of the skin. Skin tags often develop in areas where the skin rubs such in folds of the skin. Most skin tags appear in clusters in one area.
Where Do Skin Tags Typically Appear?
- Under the breasts
What Causes Skin Tags?
There is no specific cause of skin tags but they are most common in people who have significant weight gain or are pregnant. This may be due to hormones and/or excess weight placing pressure on the skin, causing the development of skin tags, especially in skin fold areas.
Age and genetics may also play a role in skin tags appearing as it is a common issue with older adults who have a family history of skin tags.
There are certain medical conditions that can see the development of skin tags including diabetes. Hormone-related diseases such as acromegaly, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome can also cause patients to develop skin tags.
Skin Tag Removal Treatment Options Available
To understand why and how to remove skin tags safely and effectively, it is highly recommended that patients seek professional skin tag treatment by a dermatologist.
Cryotherapy is a common and painless skin tag removal treatment that uses liquid nitrogen to “freeze” the skin tag, resulting in it naturally falling off. This targets only the skin cells involved in the growth.
Cauterization, also referred to as electrocautery, uses heat or electric currents to target the cells of the skin tag. A specialized wired device “burns” off the surface layers of the skin tag to promote it to fall off the skin surface and prevent bleeding at the area.
Surgical removal of a skin tag is done in the dermatologist’s office using a scalpel or surgical scissors. This excision of a skin tag is done for larger skin tags or for those that require further investigation in a laboratory as a biopsy measure. A large skin tag removal may require stitches for the healing period.
Healing Time for Skin Tag Removal
The healing time for the skin tag removal procedure depends on the type of treatment. Various dermatologists may require more than one treatment session to complete the removal process.
For cryotherapy, the skin tag will fall off and the area will heal over a 10- to 14-day period. During this time, a patient may experience discomfort or mild pain near the targeted area that will dissipate over a few hours.
Electrocautery therapy can see the skin tag fall off immediately over a time period of several days. The area treated will heal within one week. It can take two to three weeks for complete healing with an excision removal treatment.
Aftercare Tips to Promote Proper Healing and Minimize the Risk of Complications
It is vital to keep the area clean at all times by cleansing with soap and water twice a day and only using a paper towel to pat dry. An antiseptic cream, recommended by the dermatologist, should be applied to help reduce the risk of infection until the area is fully healed. Avoid using products containing alcohol, peroxide, or iodine.
The targeted area should be covered with a sterile dressing to stimulate proper healing and prevent friction form skin folds, jewellery, or clothing. A clean bandage should be applied after cleansing and ointment application.
Covering the area will also help prevent accidental touching of the area as it heals. With some cryotherapy procedures, small blisters may appear and require the natural healing process to prevent scarring.
Use fragrance-free skin moisturizers on the skin surrounding the area where the skin tag was removed to maintain hydration of the skin cells.
To speed up the healing process and prevent complications, refrain from rigorous exercise and activities during the first few days after skin tag removal.
If you experience any bleeding, swelling, severe pain, fever, or signs of an infection in the area of the skin tag removal, contact your dermatologist immediately for a follow-up appointment.
Why Choose Heart Lake Health Centre for Skin Tag Removal?
For professional skin tag removal in Brampton, see a skin specialist at Heart Lake Health Centre. Our experienced dermatologists offer multiple safe and effective skin tag removal treatments such as cryosurgery, excision, and electrocautery.
We provide customized health plans and services for local residents and international students and travellers. Call us today at (905) 846-9255 to schedule an appointment for a referral and consultation to learn more about skin tag removal and skin tag prevention.