Ever heard of a skin tag? They’re small, harmless growths that usually pop up in places where your skin rubs together, like under your arms. They can be annoying, even itchy, but don't worry - they’re usually harmless! The best way to get rid of them is by going to see your dermatologist, but oftentimes it's often easier for people to turn to the internet for an easy fix in order to avoid a doctor’s appointment.
Are those home remedies safe? We don’t think so, and we’re going to share with you a few reasons why.
There are a variety of solutions listed for skin tags, but the most popular way is by simply using bandages and certain natural ingredients like apple cider vinegar or honey. These substances are soaked in cotton balls, then placed over the tags, and are changed out for fresh ones every few hours.
While mostly safe, these remedies are messy and ineffective. They will take up to a month or more before you see any results - if there is going to be anything at all!
At the drugstore, you’ll find some over-the-counter remedies that are only slightly more effective than natural solutions. They come in three different categories: tag-freezing kits that use cryotherapy to freeze skin the tag off your body; bands used to cut off the blood supply to help it disappear on its own; and skin tag patches containing medicine meant to remove them completely.
The freeze kits are the most likely to work, but there's no guarantee that they will reach the right temperature to remove a tag. Ligation bands and patches might not do anything at all in some cases. Worst of all, these remedies are always going to run the risk of irritating the skin around the tag - something that can lead you straight back to your dermatologist for help anyway!
If the skin tag is irritating, you may be tempted to remove a skin tag with a sharp tool, like nail clippers or scissors. Some online sources even suggest tying skin tags off with dental floss! Even if it’s tempting, do not attempt this at home. Skin tags may contain blood vessels and you could accidentally hurt yourself worse than intended if the tag is not excised correctly.
One of the most common ways to remove a skin tag is by freezing it with liquid nitrogen, but there are other options that use different methods. These include excision, which involves cutting off the tag with a scalpel, or electrodesiccation, which burns away tags using electric current.
Visiting your dermatologist to have your skin tag taken care of is much more safe and effective than trying to take care of it at home, and you’ll have the added peace of mind that the procedure was performed correctly by a professional. If you have a skin tag you’d like removed - or any other questions! - please contact our office today and we’d be happy to answer your questions.