Skin tags, or acrochordons, are benign growths which people sometimes opt to remove because of discomfort or annoyance. Skin tag removal is a very basic outpatient procedure which can be performed in the office of a dermatologist or general practitioner, and some people have success with removing skin tags at home. A typical skin tag removal is fast and virtually painless, with a very short healing time.
Before removing a skin tag, it is a good idea to ascertain that it is really a skin tag, because numerous growths can be found on the skin, and not all of them are benign. Skin tags take the form of small flaps of skin or lumps of skin attached to slender stalks. They are usually similar to normal skin color, and sometimes a little bit darker. For people who have had skin tags before, it is usually easy to identify one and treat it at home. Others may prefer to seek the advice of a doctor, and a doctor should always be consulted if a growth has an unusual color, or if it grows very quickly.
At the doctor's office, there are several options for skin tag removal. The skin tag can be frozen, cauterized, lasered off, snipped off with surgical scissors, or excised with a scalpel. In many cases, a local anesthetic is used to prevent pain during the removal process. If the doctor is suspicious about the skin tag, he or she may send it in for biopsy to confirm that it is benign. Some bleeding may occur at the site, and it needs to be kept clean for several days after the procedure to prevent infection.
It is also possible to remove a skin tag at home. One way to do this is to wrap a small piece of thread or dental floss around the base of the skin tag, cutting off the blood supply and causing it to shrivel and fall off. Skin tag removal at home can also be accomplished with a small pair of nail scissors after the base has been wrapped to reduce bleeding. Some companies make products which are designed to be applied topically to skin tags and warts to force them to shrink and eventually drop away.
In the event that a skin tag reappears after it has been removed, a trip to the doctor is in order, as the growth my not be benign. It is not uncommon for people to continue to develop skin tags throughout their lives, and in some cases, skin tag removal is accomplished by the body, which randomly reabsorbs skin tags on occasion.