What is skin tag removal?

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Skin tag removal: Overview

Skin tags are small, soft pieces of skin that stick out on a stem. They are often the same color as your skin. They often grow on the eyelids, neck, armpit, and groin. Skin tags are not moles and usually do not turn into cancer.

You are more likely to get skin tags if you are overweight. They also tend to run in families.

Skin tags may be removed if they bother you. Your doctor can remove an unwanted skin tag by simply cutting it off. However, new skin tags often form.

How can you care for your child after skin tag removal?

  • If clothing irritates a skin tag, cover the skin tag with a bandage to prevent rubbing and bleeding.
  • If your child has a skin tag removed, follow your doctor's instructions. If you did not get instructions, follow this general advice:
    • Wash around the wound with clean water 2 times a day. Don't use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol, which can slow healing.
    • You may cover the wound with a thin layer of petroleum jelly, such as Vaseline, and a nonstick bandage.
    • Apply more petroleum jelly and replace the bandage as needed.
  • If you see a change in a skin growth, contact the doctor. Look for:
    • A mole that bleeds.
    • A fast-growing mole.
    • A scaly or crusted growth on the skin.
    • A sore that will not heal.

Skin tag removal: When to call

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have signs of infection such as:
    • Pain, warmth, or swelling in your skin.
    • Red streaks near a wound in your skin.
    • Pus coming from a wound in your skin.
    • A fever.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • You have an area of normal skin that suddenly changes in shape, size, or how it looks.
  • You do not get better as expected.

Why is skin tag removal done?

Most skin tags don't need to be treated. But sometimes people want to have them removed because they don't like how the skin tags look or because their skin tags cause discomfort. This can happen when skin tags rub against clothing or get caught in jewelry.

How do doctors remove skin tags?

Your doctor may remove a skin tag in any of these ways:

  • Cutting it off. Skin tags may be removed with a scalpel or surgical scissors.
  • Freezing it with liquid nitrogen. Your doctor will swab or spray a small amount of super-cold liquid nitrogen on the skin tag. You might have a small blister where the skin tag was, but it will heal on its own.
  • Burning it off. An electric current passes through a wire that becomes hot. The wire is used to burn through the narrow stem that attaches the skin tag to the skin. The heat helps prevent bleeding.

The procedure may hurt a little, but your doctor will numb the area with an anesthetic before starting the procedure. If the procedure causes any bleeding, your doctor may apply a medicine that helps stop the bleeding. Then the doctor will put a bandage on the area. These procedures may leave scars or marks.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.