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Most people have something they dislike about their bodies and, for around half the population, its skin tags. Although they are generally harmless skin tag removal is a very common treatment.
Skin tags are basically benign tumours. They are small pieces of soft hanging skin that can appear anywhere on the body, often where the skin rubs against other skin or clothing. They affect men and women equally.
As with many physical peculiarities, there are 101 myths about skin tags and how to remove them. In the past, they were seen as the mark of a witch! In fact, skin tags formed part of the evidence against poor Anne Boleyn, the beheaded wife of Henry VIII.
Old Wives' Tales
Some of the strangest ways of removing skin tags included the use of vinegar, duct tape and even dental floss. You can also buy home freezing kits. For the best results, however, it's recommended that Skin Tag Removal is carried out by a professional.
Whilst not dangerous, skin tags are often removed for aesthetic and cosmetic reasons. There are various ways to do this. It's important to remember that a skin tag is a living piece of tissue. It contains nerve cells, fat cells, fibres and skin.
Skin tags may appear anywhere from your eyelids to your armpits, groin, upper chest and neck. Many are so small you barely notice them. Others grow to reach 5 cm. If they get big, or they are getting repeatedly rubbed by your clothes, skin tag removal is advisable.
Exploding the Myths
No-one really knows why they grow, but it's likely to be when blood vessels and collagen get trapped inside the skin. It's true that some people are more susceptible than others, so there may be a genetic input.
Skin tags also tend to appear more during pregnancy, in people who are overweight and in those who suffer from diabetes. They are also common in people who have high cholesterol levels or high blood pressure.
Some people wrongly believe removing skin tags encourages more to grow. There is no scientific proof that this happens. It's more likely that some people are just prone to growing more.
Professional Skin Tag Removal
There are a couple of other myths about Skin Tag Removal. One is that it leaves you badly scarred. This is not true. Remember the skin tag is not actually part of your skin; it's a growth on your skin. However, having said that, it is preferable to have the skin tags removed professionally.
There is a chance that DIY removal methods, such as pulling or cutting it off, could cause scarring or infection.
Another myth is that only elderly people get skin tags. Whilst skin tags are more likely to appear after middle age, they are also common in younger adults and even children. This comes back to friction, the main cause of skin tags.
If you are considering skin tag removal, either for cosmetic reasons or because it is in a bad spot, several professional options are available to you. The treatment you receive will also be influenced by the size and the location of the skin tag.
Choosing a Treatment
The three main types of skin tag removal are:
Cauterisation: Skin tag is burned off using electrolysis (heat)
Cryosurgery: Skin tag is frozen off using liquid nitrogen (cold)
Ligation: Blood supply to the skin tag is stopped, causing it to fall off
Excision: Skin tag is cut out
All these procedures must be performed by a specialist skin doctor or trained medical professional.
An increasingly popular way to safely remove skin tags is Radio Frequency. This is a great method as it seals the skin as it cuts, minimising bleeding. No stitches are required.
It is quite common for skin tags to appear on eyelids. In this scenario, skin tag removal may have to be done by an eye specialist.