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Our skin is the largest organ, we have all heard that in lecture halls and various GK quizzes. There are some mysteries of the skin that are just intriguing. Skin tags would be one of these mysteries, of course with a simple solution. We all have, either seen or dealt with skin tags but we don’t know what they are nor do we know how they are formed. They are basic benign skin growths that weirdly have no function on the human body. The reason for their removal is usually because they are annoying or are in an irritable place on the body. Even doctors recommend their removal ONLY if they are in a place that hinders your daily functioning. There are ways to remove them at home as well, but before we get into all of that, let’s talk about what they are exactly.
The medical term for a skin tag is acrochordon or fibroepithelial polyp. They're benign skin lesions composed of normal skin tissue and fat. They can happen to anyone, and they can be hereditary.
In layman’s terms, skin tags are these bumps of loose flesh that are annoying. I am serious, that is how one can describe these growths. They are mostly benign and occur generally in middle to old aged people and are also a little more common on people who suffer from obesity. These growths are usually found in the hollows of your underarms, behind the ears, the nape of your neck, behind your knee and other areas where there is high friction and sometimes even on your eyelid.
Skin tags are usually smaller than 2 millimetres and are soft to touch even if they are a few centimetres big. They do not have a specific colour though they might be a little darker than your natural skin tone. They do not have heads or a red lining around them like pimples or boils.
As mentioned, while these do absolutely no harm sometimes they are in places that might hinder your daily functioning like on the eyelid. Also when they’re around your neck, they could be irritated by your jewellery and might itch or even bleed in some cases.
There are a few ways how they can be removed. If it is emergent of course you need to visit your dermatologist or cosmetologist. There are also natural home remedies that can be used for removal.
Again, I could not emphasise enough that skin tags are benign and needn’t be cosmetically or surgically treated unless emergent. If that’s the case, you can go to your dermatologist or physician and they will be able to tell you the correct cosmetic treatment. We spoke to renowned dermatologist Dr Harshna Bijlani, medical head, The Ageless Clinic, to give us an overview of the different cosmetic procedures that are used to remove skin tags.
This is the procedure normally used for smaller skin tags, where the tags are frozen with liquid nitrogen which in turn makes the tag fall off. This isn’t as simple as putting an ice cube on the affected area, also works best if the area is somewhere where the skin is lighter and there is less hair growth.
If there is severe damage done to the tag like it is bleeding, it is larger than most or is infected in some way then your physician could recommend removal with a scalpel. This will need topical anaesthesia and some down time after removal.
DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS AT HOME. This is a procedure where, in simple words, the skin tag is burned off. It requires a special tool which should be handled by a professional only. This tool is heated and then is applied to the tag. The tag doesn’t fall immediately but it does in a few days following the procedure.
For skin tag removal, a CO2 laser is used. This is considered the safest option out there to remove tags and can be done with an administration of topical or local anaesthesia.
For a long, non-flat skin tag your cosmetologist or dermat might suggest this method. A sterile string is used to tie the base of the tag cutting off their blood supply. Tags do not have a blood supply of their own, so they eventually die and fall off.
While dermatologists say that there isn't any evidence of skin tags being removed by treating them with oils, there are some who still believe in treating them at home. The basic idea is to dry the tags off so they’d fall off by themselves and most of these topical applications aren’t intrinsically harmful. Ideally, these treatments take 6-12 weeks to work. The smaller the tag, the better the result.
The antifungal, antibacterial and drying properties of this oil are useful to treat skin tags. Clean the area thoroughly and apply concentrated tea tree oil to the tag. Let it dry a bit and then cover with a bandage. Do it for a few night to see results.
The acidity in the vinegar breaks down the tissue surrounding the skin tag so it doesn’t have anything it can garner nutrition from and falls off. Apply the vinegar on the tag and cover with a bandage every day for a couple of weeks to see the result.
Ageing is one of the reasons for skin tags. Since, vitamin E is essentially an antioxidant that helps keep wrinkles at bay and rejuvenated tissue, applying liquid vitamin E topically may cause the growth to vanish in a few days.
Again, garlic has anti ageing properties and improved the appearance of the skin by reducing inflammation. Apply crushed garlic over the tag and cover with a dressing. Remove the bandage and clean the area in the morning. Do it until the tag shrinks and falls off.
Understand that if you’re using a topical treatment, it might take 6-8 weeks for them to show results. While this is going on just do not pick or pull at the tag.
DO NOT attempt to try any of the cosmetic procedures at home.
If topical treatments are causing irritable skin STOP using them immediately.
Hope this article helps you!