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Skin tags are soft, loose, and slightly wrinkled outgrowths on skin. They are also known as “skin tabs”. The medical term for a skin tag is “acrochordon”. A skin tag is basically a flesh coloured tissue that hangs from skin by a small stalk. They are completely harmless and many people are found to have some of these. Although anyone can have a skin tag, many mothers develop them during or after pregnancy. Some females are very prone to tags and have many of them.
One can have skin tags due to hereditary reasons, obesity or other unknown causes. Some of the skin tags fall off on their own eventually, while many of them persist. Skin tags are usually found under the breasts, base of one’s neck, eyelids, underarms and genital area. They can occur on any region of the body that is covered by skin. They are typically formed in regions where there is continuous friction between mother’s clothing and skin. In the beginning, a skin tag may be extremely small. But as time passes, it can grow even up to 4 cm in diameter.
Usually skin tags can be removed without giving the individual any type of anaesthesia. If the tags are a lot in number or of large size, a local anaesthetic such as Betacaine cream can be sufficiently applied in the region by the doctor. This can be done using scissors without any trouble. The second way can be to freeze the tag by using liquid nitrogen. Apart from freezing, the tags are also burnt out using medical electric cautery. All these mentioned treatments are done by a qualified doctor and not at home. Usually dermatologists and physicians can be consulted for treating a skin tag. However, if the tag is located very close to the eye, an ophthalmologist is recommended.
If one does not want to consult a doctor for getting the tags treated, there are several options to remove the tags at home itself. One such effective home remedy is to tie the stalk of a tag by a small piece of thread or dental floss which causes the tag to fall off in a few days. Prevent picking or pulling off the tags to remove them.
There is no proof that once the tags have been removed, they will not grow again. However, most women develop these during pregnancy because of the effect of hormones. So, normally they do not grow again after falling off once.
Skin tags do not cause any discomfort except for their cosmetic appearance. Hence, they are mostly removed because of their bad appearance. However, if the tag is repeatedly irritated, it can become red due to bleeding or black due to necrosis (death of skin tissue). So in some cases, these are the reasons for getting them removed. Freezing them off or burning can have certain side-effects. These include discolouration of the skin and failure of the tag to fall-off.