Can You Cut a Skin Tag Off at Home on Your Own?

0

Most skin tags (acrochordon) need not be removed for health reasons, but many people choose to for cosmetic reasons.

You may wonder if you can cut a skin tag off at home, but that is not a good idea. The safest, most effective way to remove a skin tag is to have your healthcare provider take it off surgically, cauterize it, or freeze it (cryosurgery). 

This article covers how healthcare providers clip skin tags, along with a few reasons why skin tags develop.

What Are Skin Tags?

 DermNet / CC BY-NC-ND

Skin tags are small, soft skin growths that form when the skin rubs against itself. Skin tags can be anywhere on the body but tend to be near skin folds, such as the neck, underarms, torso, eyelids, and inner thighs.

Skin tags are either dark or flesh-colored. They are usually about 2 to 5 millimeters in size but can grow up to half an inch.

Nobody knows why skin tags form, though some risk factors have been identified, including:

Skin tags are usually painless but can get irritated if they catch on clothing or jewelry. Some skin tags are connected to the skin by long, narrow stalks. If these stalks become twisted, it can cut off the blood supply, turning the tag dark brown or black. See your healthcare provider if a skin tag changes color or becomes painful.

Skin tags can sometimes be confused with warts, neurofibromas, or nevi (moles). But by simply looking at the skin growth, your healthcare provider should be able to tell whether it is a skin tag or something else.

Skin tags are benign (non-cancerous). The vast majority of them do not require a biopsy.

Why It’s Not Safe to Clip a Skin Tag Yourself

Skin tags can bleed heavily when cut off and may require stitches. It is also pretty painful to do it yourself and can leave a scar. But the risk of infection is the most important reason not to cut a skin tag off yourself.

Whenever you cut your skin, you damage the tissue and create a route for infection. It’s unlikely that anyone has the sterile environment, proper tools, and medical know-how to remove a skin tag safely at home.

Healthcare providers, of course, do. They can also examine the skin tag to ensure it isn’t something else. What you think is a skin tag could be another skin condition—even skin cancer.

And if you’re overweight, have skin tags, and haven’t seen a doctor in some time, your provider may not only remove your skin tags but test (and, if necessary, treat) you for diabetes.

How Professionals Remove Skin Tags

Providers can remove skin tags in a few ways:

  • Clipping: A provider can use iris scissors to snip off a small skin tag. No lidocaine or local anesthesia is needed.
  • Cryotherapy: A provider can freeze the tag off by dipping a pair of forceps into liquid nitrogen and grabbing the lesion until it turns white. Because of how quick it is, this option works well for those with many skin tags.
  • Cauterization: The skin tag is quickly burned off using a small electrocautery device. A topical anesthetic is applied first.
  • Electrodesiccation: A provider can dry out the skin tag by applying an electrical current. It can be used for skin tags too small to grab with forceps.

A skin tag might bleed when it’s removed. There are a few methods providers can use to stop bleeding. A cotton tip applicator that contains aluminum chloride may be applied to the wound. Or an electrocautery device can be used to seal it.

They will also ensure that the area is properly cleaned before and after to prevent infection and may give you care instructions for covering and protecting the wound until it is healed.

Can a Skin Tag Grow Back?

After your provider removes a skin tag, it won’t grow back. However, that doesn’t mean another one won’t grow in its place. Certain parts of your body might be more sensitive and more likely to get skin tags than others.

Summary

Although you may figure that removing skin tags is as simple as grabbing a pair of scissors from the cupboard drawer, it isn’t.

First, skin tags should be removed by a trained healthcare professional who can do so in a sterile environment. Second, skin tags may accompany diabetes, a much more serious problem that requires medical evaluation.

Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

By Naveed Saleh, MD, MS

Naveed Saleh, MD, MS, is a medical writer and editor covering new treatments and trending health news.

link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *