What exactly are Skin Tags?
Skin tags, also known as fibroepithelial polyps, appear as tiny pink or brown growths on the skin. They look a bit like warts but aren’t contagious so if you have a group of growths it is more likely that they are not skin tags. If they are knobbly rather than flat and tend to stick out or hang off the surface layer of your skin, then this confirms that they are probably skin tags.
Why might I want to remove Skin Tags
Although skin tags are harmless and very common they can become unsightly and make you feel self-conscious about your appearance, especially as they have been known to grow to as much as 5cm in diameter. If they are in an awkward place, such as your neck, they can tend to catch on jewellery or clothing and bleed.
Why do Skin Tags appear?
They quite often appear on folds of skin where one surface layer rubs against another, such as in the groin area or under breasts. They can also appear on eyelids or in the armpits. The folds of the buttocks can also be an awkward area as they can catch on undergarments as you move around.
Although they can appear more often with age and with diabetes, skin tags are also known to arise with changes in hormone levels that occur during pregnancy. Some people find that they are just prone to them and this could be linked to genetic inheritance for the tendency.
What choices are there for treating Skin Tags?
Skin tags can be surgically removed with a scalpel when the treatment is known as excision. Sometimes, all that is needed is to cut off the blood supply to the skin by ligation, which is to tie a knot around it. A third possibility is to burn off the skin tag using electrolysis, which is called cauterization. Alternatively, and this is the simplest and most effective treatment option offered by Medi+Care, cryosurgery can be used.
Also known as cryotherapy, this treatment uses very low temperature materials to freeze the skin tags. Liquid nitrogen will freeze all living tissue that it is brought into contact with and can treat a very precise area.
Will it hurt?
A cryotherapy treatment usually only lasts between ten and thirty seconds. It feels a bit like having an ice cube placed on the back of your hand for the same amount of time. It might feel a little uncomfortable but not really painful. Most people are glad when it stops but find the treatment bearable because it is over so quickly.
What happens then?
Over the course of the next few hours the surrounding skin can become red or swollen. The skin tag will become discoloured and gradually loosen and fall off. Sometimes a blister forms that can be popped with a sterilised needle and covered with a plaster. New skin will form within four to seven days so any blemish will soon be replaced with healthy looking skin.