A skin tag refers to a flesh-colored, painless, benign growth on the skin surface. They are connected by a stalk known as a peduncle. They are unpreventable and one of the most common bumps found on human skin – almost everyone will develop one or more at some stage in their life. Skin tags affect both men and women, often after 50, but can also occur during pregnancy or as a result of weight gain. Most of them are under two millimeters in size and are soft and malleable to the touch.
Skin tags can occur anywhere on the body. They are, however, most commonly found in areas where there are folds and frequent friction, such as the:
- Under the breasts
While not harmful and generally painless, skin tags can be an annoyance or, in severe cases, a source of embarrassment. And while some people use at-home methods to remove them, this is not advised as it can be dangerous and result in injury or infection.
How a skin tag is removed
There are several ways to remove a skin tag, and anaesthesia usually isn’t required. A local one may be administered in the event that many are being removed at once.
The four most popular methods when it comes to skin tag removal are:
- Ligation Tying the skin tag off with surgical thread to restrict blood flow so that it falls off.
- Cryotherapy Skin tags can be frozen off by using liquid nitrogen.
- Surgical removal Using tools, such as scissors or a scalpel, to remove unwanted skin tags.
- Electrosurgery This method using a high-frequency electrical-energy drive to burn off skin tags.