How to Remove Skin Tags at Home [DermTV.com Epi #511]


The internet is full of at home products that
remove skin tags. Many work but cause burning and red skin at
best, and even worse side effects if you’re not
careful. I’ll tell you about them, and also, the best
way to remove skin tags at home, which is amazingly simple. Hello, I’m Dr. Neal Schultz [pause] And welcome to DermTV. Most at home products to remove skin tags
work by either chemically burning, known as cauterizing,
or freezing skin tags, which then take a few days to fall off. Burning is usually done with acids or other
caustic chemicals, while freezing is done with chemical sprays
that literally cause the skin tags to freeze to
death. During the few days it takes for the tags
to fall off, there is inflammation, discomfort and burning
of the surrounding skin. As if that didn’t sound bad enough, all of these products have four other issues
to be aware of. First, you need to make sure what you’re treating
is actually a skin tag. If it’s not, you may delay proper treatment,
or even make it worse. For example, you don’t want to unsuccessfully
treat a skin cancer as a skin tag and therefore have it grow deeper or even
spread because you delayed the diagnosis and treatment. Second, proper treatment requires precise
application of the product to the skin tag and not to the surrounding
skin since all skin will be damaged by the product. Allowing even a tiny amount of the chemical
to spill onto normal skin causes a burning sensation for a few days
until the skin heals. One product advertised online includes a “how
to” video and shows such sloppy application of the product to more of the surrounding skin than to the
alleged skin tag… which in the video is actually a mole, not
a skin tag. That caused a 2 inch diameter area of normal
surrounding skin to become bright red and painful from inflammation. Third, since they all work by injuring the
skin of the skin tag, it takes many days for the irrevocably injured
skin tag to die, shrivel up and fall off. Then complete healing of the base where it was attached to the normal skin takes
a few weeks. And last, most products are advertised as
“gentle but effective”. Unfortunately, no chemical or physical cauterant
is gentle. However, precise application to only the skin
tag without spilling over to the surrounding normal
skin results in less discomfort. Even a tea tree oil based product can create
problems since tea tree oil, if used topically in high concentrations may
cause skin irritation. In my opinion, the best way to remove skin
tags at home is to do the same thing I do in the office. I take an ice cube and chill the skin tag
for 15 seconds. Then, with a sterile, very pointed small scissor… I painlessly snip the tag off at the bottom
of its stalk where it rises out from the skin. Pressure with a piece of gauze for a minute
will usually stop any bleeding, although often there isn’t any. And if you can’t “pull the trigger” with the
scissor on your own skin, you can ask a friend. However, just like the first issue I discussed, only do this if you are 110% sure it’s a skin
tag. If you’re not, consult your dermatologist.

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