Most people are afraid of any new growth that they see on their body. In fact, preventive science has conditioned us all to look at all such growths with suspicion since no wants to take a chance that it could be cancerous. Thankfully, skin tags do not fall under the category of growths that will make you lose sleep. In fact, most people do not even realise they have skin tags until someone close to them informs them about it. And you can learn how to remove skin tags naturally at home.
As someone who has suffered from skin tags and has undergone different modes of treatment, I now have a wealth of information on the topic that I can share with others. Here is what I learned from listening to doctors and through personal experiences.
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What Are Skin Tags?
Skin tags are almost always benign growths that are seen in areas of friction between skin folds in the body. The neck, underarms, below the breasts and the buttocks are the most common area for the skin tags to develop. They may also form on the face or behind the ears.
These outgrowths of the skin become more common in people as they advance in age. There are instances of children also developing them, however their presence is noted in increasing numbers in people of older age groups.
The skin tags can be recognised quite easily since their colour is usually of the same colour as the surrounding skin or just slightly darker and they are attached by a small stalk to the body. Their size can vary from that of a size of the smallest finger’s nail to a large grape. The surface of the skin is usually smooth and the growth is completely painless.
Once the skin tag has reached its full size they do not change their shape or size further.
There should be no bleeding or any other ulceration that is present around the skin tag. People who are overweight or have gained a large amount of weight recently tend to develop skin tags more commonly. Researchers have found a genetic link you e development of these skin tags however the exact genetic determinant for these tags is still unknown.
A predilection for women to develop these skin tags has been noted as compared to men. The scientific name for these skin tags is acrochordon.
Causes for Skin Tag Formation
There are a number of theories as to why skin tags appear in some people and not in others; however the exact reason is still debated.
Friction between skin folds seems to be the most important cause for skin tag development since that is where they appear most often. Some people have also claimed that the presence of sweat may have something to do with skin tag development but this claim seems more anecdotal than scientific.
A link with the development of diabetes and skin tags has also been noticed, in fact some researchers have gone as far as to treat them as a marker of a pre diabetic state.
The hormonal changes associated with pregnancy also lead to skin tag formation in some women.
Problems Associated With Skin Tags
It is important to remember that most often skin tags are completely harmless, in fact it would be extremely rare to find an incidence of cancer developing in a skin tag.
Dermatologists agree that these skin tags can be left alone if they are not interfering with anything or posing a cosmetic concern to the individual.
Commonly however some of the larger skin tags can get caught up in clothing or scratched and start bleeding. The blood supply to these skin tags can also get compromised and cause the colour to change.
Keeping all this in mind, it can be safe to assume that cosmetic reasons are almost always at the forefront for seeking treatment or removal of skin tags. People do not want to have what they consider as unwanted growth showing on their body when they are at the beach or becoming a topic of conversation when they are getting intimate with their partners.
These skin tags may also be present in a conspicuous position and distract the conversation away from other meaningful activities. All of these are valid reasons for wanting to seek treatment and no other than why people seek treatment for any cosmetic correction.
When to Seek Medical treatment?
The one reason when you should not wait to seek out an informed medical opinion is when a skin tag starts to change in shape, size or colour. This is not a normal occurrence and needs to be investigated.
Other than this, seeking treatment for removal of skin tags is not an emergency. Learning how to remove skin tags yourself is usually a good option.
How to Remove Skin Tags
There are a number of options available when people are looking for a way to treat skin tags. The best option is to use something which is not too invasive or that runs up huge bills.
Homeopathic preparations have shown immense promise in the area. I came across this particular brand after a strong recommendation from my friend and have had tremendous success in dealing with skin tags ever since. Revitol Skin Tag Remover is something I always advise people to try out and see if they have similar positive experiences to mine.
Homeopathic preparations are made on the principle of serial dilution (which is a method of distilling out the impurities and keeping only the active natural ingredients) and are thus an effective and focused option to treat skin tags. They also do not contain any artificial substances and so are milder on the body with almost no side effects.
The cost of this homeopathic preparation is significantly less than what a person would pay for a single consultation with a doctor. The preparation has to be applied three to four times a day and the results are visible within a few weeks of starting treatment.
Getting it surgically excised at the surgeon’s office is also an option, however it is important to know that this procedure is not covered under insurance. The companies classify the minor surgery to remove a skin tag as ‘non essential’ and ‘elective’. Procedures that are carried out for cosmetic correction are almost never covered any insurance or employee benefits. I resigned myself to paying large amounts of money every few years to keep myself skin tag free, however luckily I have not had a reason to revisit the doctor over the last few years.
The surgery itself is not a very complicated procedure and can be carried out under local anesthesia itself. The surgeon will remove the skin tag from the stalk and then may choose to apply stitches to stop the bleeding.
Electro cautery and laser excision is also a good option since the bleeding is controlled and the healing is quite a bit quicker. There is also no need for any sutures following the surgery.
Depending upon the area in which the surgery is performed, it may be necessary to wear some loose fitting clothes and avoiding any repeated trauma to the area.
Skin tags are also usually multiple in numbers and have the tendency to recur. This is also another reason why doctors do not immediately opt for the surgical route to treat skin tags. Getting rid of all or most of the skin tags would require multiple sites of surgery and there is no guarantee that the same sites would not develop such growths again.
Some of the smaller skin tags can even be removed by people on their own. Traditionally, people used to tie the skin tags with a piece of thread or skin floss and wait for it fall off. They can even be removed by a sharp pair of scissors.
The risk with such an approach though is that sometimes the bleeding can be really severe and be difficult to control for a non medical professional.
If you feel that the sight of blood makes you uncomfortable or that the skin tag is a large one, then do not attempt to remove it on your own.
It is also important to remember that when the primary reason for removing a skin tag is to get rid of an unwanted cosmetic situation it does not make sense in creating another one through improper healing resulting from a failed attempt at self treatment.
Most doctors will never advise these ‘do it yourself’ methods and in fact actively persuade you against them.
There is no role for any medication in the treatment of skin tags, however sometimes a course of antibiotics may be necessary if an overlying abscess has formed.
There are some other skin lesions that can appear the same as skin tags including warts, moles, keratotic growths, or benign growths which require a different line of treatment.
Most of the times the confirmation is done by visual and physical inspection. Warts and other keratotic growths have a rough appearance with jagged edges, whereas skin tags are smooth on appearance. Most moles will also have a hair follicle that grows from the centre.
If there is any doubt about the diagnosis then the doctor may choose to get a biopsy done to confirm after histopathologic results are returned.
The chance that a diagnosis of cancer is returned is extremely low, however the nature of the disease is such that doctors do not take any chances if they have even the slightest doubt. This is one statement that gave me a lot of peace of mind since my family has suffered quite a bit from cancer in the past and I too feared the worst when I saw these growths on my body.
The only exception to this statement is in the case of young children and infants. If they start developing multiple skin tags then they are excised and sent for analysis since they could be the first sign of a developmental disorder called as Nevoid Basal cell carcinoma syndrome.
As the name suggests, the likelihood of developing skin cancer is extremely high in such cases.
How Do You Stop Skin Tags From Forming?
The fact of the matter is that there is no 100% method of prevention, however certain practices have been found to be helpful in this regard.
The homeopathic preparation Revitol has essential oils that root out the problem organically and has an extremely low rate of recurrence. However, it is also important to make sure that the conditions which resulted in skin tag formation in the first place are also reversed.
A weight loss program which includes a healthy diet and exercise should be adopted by anyone suffering from skin tag formation. The aim should be to bring down the amount of friction between skin folds as well as get the hormonal balance back to normal.
A test for diabetes is also in order and medication should be stated if an insulin deficiency is detected.
There has been evidence reported that skin tags can form along lines of tight clothing. Bra straps and tight underwear can result in the friction that contributes to skin tags from forming, so this is something that can be avoided.
I have been following all the above mentioned precautions and like I mentioned earlier, have not had the need to worry about skin tags for the last few years.
Skin tag formation is something that has a multi factorial etiology and so can be difficult to prevent against. The treatment is curative in nature and dependent solely on subjective complaints of a cosmetic nature from the patient. I detested the presence of these skin tags on my body and wanted to do something about them even after the doctor had informed me that they were basically harmless.
There are no follow ups or recall visits required and the only instructions that have to followed are of a general nature rather than anything specific to skin tags.
With easy, inexpensive options like homeopathy available, there is no reason why anyone should have to suffer from mental duress from ungainly skin tags.