If you’ve noticed fleshy little growths on your skin that are tempting to pick at, you likely have skin tags. These little protrusions of hanging skin tend to be soft, smooth, and the same color as the rest of our body. The tags typically show up wherever we have folds of skin, like under our arms or breasts, or on the neck, groin, or eyelids. Fortunately, they’re completely harmless–but they can be super annoying if you don’t like the way they look.
Dr Low favours this method of removal as it results in the cleanest removal with the least risk of downtime and scarring to surrounding skin. The patient is usually given some ointment to apply to prevent infection for a few days, and advised to avoid friction or picking at the treated area. In most cases, skin healing is speedy and uneventful especially if post-treatment instructions are adhered to, she says.
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Alternatively, some establishments with no access to the above might take the following course of action:
- A topical numbing cream will be applied first
- Liquid nitrogen (cryotherapy) will be applied to the tag to freeze it off
And sometimes, you might see some combination or variation on all of the above, with cautery being used to burn off spots directly, after topical or injected numbing is first applied.
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How Do You Prevent Them?
Reducing skin friction—like, not wearing necklaces that can rub on the skin—can help keep new skin tags from developing, says Dr Low, who adds that removed skin tags don’t typically grow back, though new ones may grow in the same general area where tags have previously popped up.
She recommends that you not try to remove skin tags at home yourself since they can bleed upon removal and become infected without proper precaution and explains that at-home treatments are not very effective at treating large tags and can cause significant irritation.
The good news? A healthy diet and lifestyle can help keep blood sugar level low, which can help prevent skin tags from forming.
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