You may have noticed a small new growth on your neck or armpits that is not a freckle or a mole, but you aren’t sure how it got there.
This could be a skin tag. The good news is that there’s no reason to stress right away, but you should see your physician to confirm the diagnosis, especially before attempting any removal methods.
What is a skin tag?
A skin tag is a non-cancerous growth of skin. These commonly occur around the neck, eyelids, armpits, groin and thighs. The development and amount of skin tags are influenced by genetics, aging and weight gain.
What are the different methods to get rid of skin tags?
Freezing using liquid nitrogen or snipping with a sharp blade are two common removal methods. Skin tags can also be burned off using cautery. If the lesion is large, numbing injections are used before treatment to help decrease the discomfort. Other methods include over-the-counter liquid options or strangulation by placing a small tie at the base of the tag to cause loss of blood supply.
Which methods work the best?
Snipping and freezing are the best options. Over the counter liquid products may simply irritate the skin and not lead to the resolution of tags, as can do-it-yourself "strangulation" at home with dental floss or string.
If possible, visiting a board certified dermatologist is the best way to determine which method will work the best. A dermatologist is able to remove the skin tag, but insurance doesn't typically cover it, since it is seen as a cosmetic procedure.
How can you prevent skin tags?
Maintaining a healthy weight is the only way to reduce the development of skin tags.
Alisha Plotner is a dermatologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.