May 01, 2018

Can I remove skin tags?

Q: Is there a safe way to remove skin tags on my own?

A: There's no shortage of suggested ways to remove skin tags on store shelves, but the best route to removal is a visit to your doctor.

Skin tags are noncancerous, fleshcolored growths that protrude from the skin, often on a narrow stalk. They're common, particularly as you age. They're also commonly seen in those who are pregnant or who have diabetes. Occurrence also runs in families.

Skin tag

Skin tag

 

Skin tags are often found around the neck or armpits, or generally in places of friction, such as where skin folds together. Although usually harmless, they can become irritated when they catch on jewelry or rub on clothing. Sharp pain can sometimes develop if the skin tag becomes twisted, cutting off blood supply to the tag.

Whether you want a skin tag removed because it's irritating or for appearance reasons, it's important to talk to your doctor about it because:

  • Skin tags can resemble other skin issues that may be treated differently.
  • Bleeding, infection and scarring can occur.
  • It may hurt to cut off a larger skin tag. A numbing injection can make the process more comfortable.
  • Depending on its shape and location, your doctor may snip a skin tag off with surgical scissors, burn it off with electrical current or freeze it off with...