What Can I Do About Skin Tags?

Skin tags can be a source of frustration, especially when they grow on your face or creases of your body. Friction from your clothing or movements can irritate the extra skin growths, or they may become painful when the tags get caught on your jewelry, hairbrush, or razor.

While skin tags don’t usually need to be removed for medical purposes, those that become irritated or painful can be easily removed by board-certified dermatologist David Bushore, M.D., at Balcones Dermatology & Aesthetics in Austin, Texas. Dr. Bushore can also remove skin tags on your face and neck if you’re unhappy with their appearance.

The science of skin tags

A skin tag is a small piece of hanging skin that can develop anywhere on your body. These tags are benign tumors that typically affect the skin where it folds or creases.

Each skin tag contains nerve and fat cells, and they may appear smooth or irregularly shaped. Some tags develop as skin-colored growths, while others may become a dark brown.

Many people have several skin tags on their body and aren’t even aware of them. Tags can fall off naturally and without any pain. Large skin tags can get twisted on themselves choking off their blood supply and causing pain before they die and fall off.

While there isn’t a great understanding about what actually causes skin tags to grow, the friction of nearby skin or your clothing may be to blame. There is also some research that suggests the human papillomavirus (HPV) may play a role in the growth of skin tags.

The number one cause of skin tags is that they are inherited, and are more common in those with a genetic predisposition. They have also been found to be more common in individuals with higher insulin levels or those with diabetes because they produce a more insulin-like growth factor.

In some cases, skin tags may develop due to hormonal changes, such as during pregnancy and menopause.

Why you need a skin evaluation

Skin tags are noncancerous and very common in much of the population. However, skin tags can also resemble other skin growths that are much more serious.

To ensure the skin growth is, in fact, a skin tag, you should schedule a consultation with board-certified dermatologist David Bushore, M.D. He can thoroughly evaluate your skin’s overall health and confirm that growths aren’t precancerous or cancerous moles.

You should also schedule a skin evaluation for any changes that occur in your skin, so serious issues can be diagnosed accurately and treated quickly.

Options for skin tag treatment

If skin tags are interfering with your confidence in your appearance, or you’re suffering discomfort, pain, or bleeding as the result of a skin tag, it may be time to consider having them removed.

There are several methods for eliminating skin tags, including over-the-counter treatments. While these methods can address skin tags, it’s always best to undergo a full skin evaluation with a board-certified dermatologist, like Dr. Bushore, before treating issues at home.

In-office treatments to remove skin tags involve cutting off the excess skin growth with medical scissors. You may also benefit from cryotherapy, where Dr. Bushore uses liquid nitrogen to destroy the excess skin tissue.

In some cases, skin tags need to be removed with electrocautery, which burns away the excess skin growth without damaging the surrounding skin.

Whether skin tags are interfering with your self-confidence or you’re interested in removing skin tags frequently irritated by your activities, book an appointment online or over the phone with board-certified dermatologist David Bushore, M.D., at Balcones Dermatology & Aesthetics today.

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