Getting Rid of Skin Tags: Treatment Options
by Maggie McGee
What’s a Skin Tag?
If you fall into the majority of the population that is unfamiliar with the concept of a skin tag, no worries – we’ve got answers. In its most basic form, a skin tag is a small, permanent, potentially growing piece of hanging skin that generally forms where other skin or clothes cause rubbing. It also varies in appearance. Some skin tags are flesh colored; others are hyperpigmented, or darker than the surrounding flesh. Some are flat; others hang off the skin by a stalk known as a peduncle. Most are a few millimeters in diameter. Skin tags also fluctuate in size ranging from that of a pinpoint to that of a grape.
The medical term for this “condition” is acrochordon and it can form anywhere on the body where there is skin. Still, they are most commonly found on eyelids, nose, cheek, neck, armpits, upper chest, and groin area. Skin tags are not related to any illnesses, conditions, or diseases; they are benign and pose no medical threat, but they can be inconvenient - both physically and aesthetically. Skin tags are more prevalent in women, especially those who are pregnant. Skin tags generally increase for both genders with age, obesity, and health problems including diabetes. Luckily, there are several methods for getting rid of skin tags once and for all.
Skin Tag Removal Treatments
Traditionally, skin tags used to be removed by tying the base of the tag tightly with a piece of cotton or string and waiting for it to die naturally and fall off as consequence of an obstructed blood supply. However, this method can lead to infection. The safest and most effective way to have a skin tag removed is by a doctor. Today, doctors have a few other ways to get the job done: burning it off, cutting it off, or freezing it off. Sounds like a great way to spend your lunch break, right? If for some reason, none of these options sound appealing to you, there are other alternatives.
Skin tags can also be removed by lasers. The objective here is to evaporate unwanted tissue while simultaneously resurfacing the skin. This procedure is extremely precise and leaves minimal scarring, providing excellent cosmetic results. Another option to consider is electro surgery, more commonly known as electrolysis. This procedure is usually performed by a professional who will use an electric needle to destroy the skin tag growth as well as any additional growth beneath the skin. Electrolysis is usually fast and permanent leaving minor scarring. Patients are allowed to resume their daily activities immediately after the in-clinic procedure. The process itself takes around 20 minutes so you could, in fact, do it on your lunch break.
The Healing Process
The treated area will typically heal with 3-5 days with minimal discomfort. Older, less healthy tissue may take up to two weeks to fully heal. Immediately after the procedure, the affected area will appear raw and red, but these side effects will progressively subside with the healing process. For facial skin tags, doctors approve of make up around the treated area, but not directly on it as it could cause infection.
Unfortunately, today’s medical insurance companies are reluctant to help cover the financial burdens of any of these procedures as they are viewed as cosmetic based and lacking in medical need. However, doctors’ offices are helping accommodate patients with this inconvenience by offering payment plans based on the patients’ needs.
To learn more about treating skin tags and potentially preventing them in the future, contact us today and arrange your free consultation with a licensed skin care specialist in your area.
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