What is it?
Skin tags are small and benign growths that are attached to the skin’s surface by a thin stalk, formed by layers of fibre, blood vessels and collagen wrapped in a thin layer of skin. They are a very commonly occurring skin lesion, which often develops after midlife, especially in overweight people and/or pregnant women. It can happen to both men and women, and can develop countless number of times on one’s body.
Although it can happen anywhere on the body, skin tags often develop in those regions where the skin tends to fold (eyelid, neck, armpits, groin, etc.), or those regions that frequently rub against clothes (back, hips, etc.). Skin tags often appear brown or skin toned, and start out as small bumps that grow larger with friction and time, until it eventually raised out of the skin’s surface. In many cases, the skin tags eventually fall off on their own or even rupture under pressure.
Skin tags are often harmless and do not require removal. However, some choose to remove it due to discomfort or its unpleasant appearance.
How is it done?
Skin tags can be carefully and safely removed using various different procedures, with the most common ones being cauterization, cryosurgery, electrocautery, ligation as well as surgical excision.
Cauterization is a procedure that involves using heat to burn off the skin tag without affecting the surrounding skin. Cryosurgery is the opposite; wherein liquid nitrogen is used to freeze the skin tag until it can be quickly and safely cut off from the body.
Electrocautery is a similar procedure to cauterization; wherein electric current is used to singe away the skin tag safely. Ligation is another removal technique that involves using surgical threads to cut off blood flow to the skin tag, resulting in it falling off on its own eventually. Lastly, surgical excision, as the name suggests, involves surgically cutting off the skin tag from the body.
What are the Pre- and Post-procedure steps for Skin tag removal?
Before a skin tag removal session, you will be consulting with the aesthetic doctor to help determine the reasons for removal and the best-suited removal technique. The skin tag may also be inspected and examined carefully before a removal session is finalised. Once fixed, you will be given a topical or injected anaesthetic to numb the region, before the skin tag is removed using the appropriate technique.
After the skin tag removal, the region will likely be bandaged or sealed to let it heal naturally. You will be given several aftercare tips to follow as well, which can ensure a speedy and risk-free recovery of the treated site. Some tips can include applying antibiotic creams to the region, keeping the region clean and sanitary, and keeping it covered often to avoid infections. You will be able to return to daily activities after the removal, but may experience itchiness or unease. This should pass, and the region should heal itself, in about 2-3 weeks post-removal.