How Dermatologists Remove Skin Tags

How Dermatologists Remove Skin Tags
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Removing skin tags, those small, flesh-coloured growths on the skin, can be tempting. While they are harmless and, in some cases, fall off on their own, you may choose to have them removed for aesthetic reasons or if they cause irritation by friction with clothing or jewellery.

You may be tempted to remove skin tags yourself but ask for a medical professional’s help for safety and aesthetic reasons. We will discuss why in the later sections. First, let’s explain the ways dermatologists remove skin tags.

How to remove skin tags

By freezing

Can of liquid nitrogen

One method of removing skin tags is cryotherapy, which involves freezing the tag using liquid nitrogen. Your dermatologist will first soak the forceps in liquid nitrogen for about 20 seconds. Then, they will use these chilled forceps to firmly grasp each skin tag for about five seconds until it turns white. The forceps will then be dipped back into the liquid nitrogen to cool before repeating the process. Each skin tag will be frozen and thawed three times. This freezing process causes the tag to die and fall off over time. Your dermatologist can also snip it off with a sterile blade or scissors. The number of skin tags treated in one session depends on how many you have and your comfort level during the procedure. 

Cryotherapy is a quick and relatively painless dermatologist procedure. But as with all medical procedures, it has its advantages and disadvantages.

Pros

  • Cryotherapy is usually a fast treatment, often taking just a few minutes to complete.
  • While there may be a slight stinging or burning sensation during the procedure, most patients tolerate it.
  • Cryotherapy can remove multiple skin tags in one session.
  • When performed by a trained professional, cryotherapy typically results in minimal scarring.

Cons

  • After cryotherapy, the treated area may be red, swollen, or blistered temporarily. If the treated area is visible, you may need to cover it until it heals.
  • You must wait up to two weeks for the skin tags to fall off.
  • Larger or more stubborn skin tags may require multiple cryotherapy sessions for complete removal.
  • In some cases, the skin surrounding the treated area may temporarily become lighter or darker in colour.
  • On occasion, depending on the patient, scarring can occur. 
  • If you have other skin conditions or sensitivities, cryotherapy may not be suitable for you.

By cutting

Another way to remove skin tags is to cut them off. After numbing the area, your dermatologist will remove the skin tag with either sterile surgical scissors or a blade. They will then apply a solution to stop any bleeding. Here are its pros and cons:

Pros

  • Cutting off a skin tag provides instant removal of the tag. This means there’s no need to wait days for it to fall off or have multiple sessions.
  • If your skin tag is relatively large, snipping is better than freezing it. 
  • Excision allows for precise tag removal, ensuring minimal damage to the surrounding skin.
  • Excision is often a cost-effective option for removing skin tags.
  • Snipping can work for you even if you have sensitive skin. 

Cons

  • Cutting off a skin tag may result in minor bleeding, especially if the tag is large or deeply rooted.
  • Improper sterilisation of instruments or poor wound care after excision can lead to infection. This is why we highly recommend having it removed by a board-certified dermatologist.
  • While excision aims to minimise scarring, there is still a risk of visible scarring, particularly if the wound is not properly cared for during the healing process.

These are just two of the most popular skin removal methods. A consultation with a dermatologist will help you decide which method is suitable for you. They will assess your skin tag’s size and location to determine the best removal method. They can also advise you about the proper aftercare following the removal.

Other skin tag removal treatments involve using low-voltage current. However, we don’t offer these treatments at ENRICH.

Can I remove skin tags on my own?

You might have been advised to pick on your skin tags to remove them. Some do-it-yourself skin tag removal methods make it seem easy, but it’s generally not the best idea. You run a high risk of infection, bleeding, and scarring. 

Also, popular DIY skin tag removal methods, such as tying off the tag or cutting it off with scissors, can be painful and might not completely remove the tag, which could cause more problems. 

It’s safer to consult a healthcare professional if you want to remove your skin tag. Our skin is different from one another’s, and a dermatologist can determine the best course of action.

Why a doctor’s advice is a must

Getting advice from a doctor about your skin tags is important because sometimes they could be a sign of something serious. This is particularly true if you suddenly develop many skin tags, which could be a sign of Birt Hogg Dube (BHD) syndrome. This syndrome is a rare, inherited genetic disorder that increases your risk of kidney cancer and lung issues, among other illnesses.

It might also be a different kind of skin growth–like warts or skin cancer–that needs other treatment. A dermatologist can help you determine what’s going on and give you appropriate advice.

Can you prevent skin tags?

While there’s no guaranteed way to prevent skin tags, there are ways to reduce their likelihood.

By taking care of yourself and your skin health, you might be able to prevent those pesky skin tags from occurring constantly.

Skin tag removal at ENRICH

Our dermatologists can guide you on the best course of action for removing your skin tags, including complex cases. Schedule a consultation with us.

Please Note:

*With all surgeries or procedures, there are risks. Consult your physician (GP) before undertaking any surgical or cosmetic procedure. Please read the consent forms carefully and be informed about every aspect of your treatment. Some surgeries have a mandatory seven-day cooling-off period to give patients adequate time to be sure of their surgery choice. Results may also vary from person to person due to many factors, including the individual’s genetics, diet and exercise. Before and after photos are only relevant to the patient in the photo and do not necessarily reflect the results other patients may experience. Ask questions. Our team of dermatologists, doctors and nurses are here to help you with any of your queries. This page is not advice and is intended to be informational only. We endeavour to keep all our information up to date; however, this site is intended as a guide and not a definitive information portal or in any way constitutes medical advice.

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