One in every four people will develop skin tags, according to Elle. However, it’s not just everyday people who are prone to these flaps of excess skin. Both Chrissy Teigen and Kim Kardashian-West say they developed skin tags while they were pregnant. And while these skin tags are harmless, they can cause irritation and even embarrassment, which results in individuals choosing to have them removed. So, what are your skin tag removal options?
The dos and don’ts of removing skin tags
In general, skin tag removal isn’t covered by medical insurance as it’s viewed as a cosmetic procedure. This means you can expect to pay up to $500 to have your tags removed professionally. As you can imagine, this price often means individuals with skin tags seek out alternative and cheaper ways to ditch their tags. However do-it-yourself removal kits aren’t recommended as you could end up damaging your skin. What’s more, getting a dermatologist to review your skin tag will ensure that a skin tag diagnosis is confirmed and that the appropriate treatment option for the shape, size, and condition of your tag is selected.
Freezing skin tags
A common method to remove skin tags is for them to be frozen off. The official medical term for the procedure is cryotherapy. Cryotherapy has been used for more than a century to treat skin complaints. Although it is typically recommended for individuals with light-colored skin only, it has been proven to work wonders for skin tags. It will take just a few minutes for liquid nitrogen to work its magic on your skin tag and for it to freeze. Over the course of the next few days, your skin tag will show signs of scabbing and you may need to apply skin relief cream to alleviate symptoms. You should then expect the whole tag to fall off within 14 days.
Possible side effects of skin tag freezing include redness, inflammation, and pain around the tag, which can be treated with over-the-counter pain relief. It’s also possible for the surrounding area to alter color and for bleeding to occur. Meanwhile, some patients experience headaches and hair loss as a result of the freezing process.
Burning skin tags off
Burning is Kim Kardashian-West’s preferred skin tag removal method. Although she states that her pregnancy hormones prevented the process from working as expected. The burning process is similar to the freezing one, but rather than using liquid nitrogen, an electrode is used to pass an electric current to the tissue of the skin tag. Once the electric current has done its job, your skin tag will fall off in a matter of days. Meanwhile, you can expect to experience similar side effects like the ones experienced by individuals who have them frozen off.
Laser removal for skin tags
Another burning option is to have your skin tags removed via laser. This method involves a numbing agent being used to ensure the procedure is as comfortable as possible for you. From there, lasers will burn the flaps of skin until they fall all. The good news is that most laser removal procedures of this kind take less than half an hour to complete. However, there are some side effects to consider, including irritation and redness. You may also need to apply an antibiotic ointment to aid the skin’s recovery.
Cutting skin tags away
Skin tags can also be removed with a simple snip. Most dermatologists will numb the area before cutting the skin tag off at the stalk with scissors or a scalpel. Dermatologist, Laurel Naversen Geraghty says that “I like to just do a miniature injection of lidocaine to numb the skin and just snip them right off with some very sharp sterile scissors. It only takes a second to do.” Just like the other skin tag removal methods, there is the possibility of side effects occurring. The main one being that the area may bleed after the removal which could result in you requiring stitches.
Benefits of removing skin tags
One thing that all these methods have in common is that following your skin tag’s extraction it will be reviewed under a microscope. This is one of the biggest benefits of getting a professional to remove your tag as they’ll assess it for signs of abnormality. Thus, you can return home skin-tag free and satisfied that there’s nothing sinister going on with your skin.
It can be tempting to try to remove skin tags yourself. However, dermatologists strongly advise against this as it can cause more harm than good. Instead, you’re best off reviewing your skin tag removal options with the assistance of a professional and choosing the best one for you and your circumstances.