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How-To

Last Updated Feb 8, 2024

How to Treat Skin Tags like a Dermatologist

Author
|
Board-Certified Dermatologist
Dr. Muneeb Shah

Skin tags, medically known as acrochordons, are common fleshy growths that can appear anywhere on the body, often in areas prone to friction like the neck, armpits, and groin.

skin tag
What causes skin tags?

  • Genetic predisposition
  • Friction (clothing, necklaces)
  • Metabolic syndrome & Obesity (Increased insulin-like growth factor)

Can I prevent new skin tags from forming?

While genetic predisposition cannot be altered, lifestyle changes can help prevent skin tags. Avoiding tight clothing and reducing carbohydrate intake to lower insulin levels are recommended. However, once skin tags have formed, lifestyle changes may prevent future growths but won't eliminate existing ones.

Are home removal 'hacks' safe? 
The internet is filled with DIY removal methods like tying dental floss around skin tags or using rubber bands. However, dermatologists caution against these methods due to potential complications and misdiagnosis. Several skin conditions mimic skin tags, including neurofibromas, cherry angiomas, and even skin cancer. Therefore, it's crucial to consult a dermatologist for accurate diagnosis and treatment. Some home remedies, such as apple cider vinegar or salicylic acid, can damage surrounding tissue and cause scarring.

How does a dermatologist treat skin tags? 
In-office treatments include cryotherapy, which involves freezing the skin tag with liquid nitrogen, or surgical removal by snipping them off. Dermatologists typically recommend keeping the area moist with petrolatum during the healing process and using sunscreen to prevent hyperpigmentation.

How much does it cost to remove skin tags?
While skin tag removal is usually considered cosmetic and not covered by insurance, the cost varies depending on the number and size of skin tags. Some dermatologists will remove them for free but cosmetic fees range from $50 to $200, making it essential to discuss fees with your dermatologist beforehand.

With any skin growth, consulting a dermatologist for accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment is essential to avoid complications and ensure optimal outcomes.

 

Doctor's Note

Skin tags are benign growths that occur due to genetics, friction from clothing, and insulin resistance

DIY removal methods can lead to complications

Accurate diagnosis by a dermatologist is crucial because skin tags can resemble other skin growths

Treatments like cryotherapy (freezing) or surgical removal (snipping), followed by proper care, are recommended by dermatologists.

The Research

Köseoğlu HG, Bozca BC, Başsorgun Cİ, Sarı R, Akbaş SH, Karakaş AA. The role of insulin-like growth factor in Acrochordon Etiopathology. BMC Dermatol. 2020

Dr. Muneeb Shah

Board-Certified Dermatologist

Dr. Muneeb Shah headshot

Dr. Muneeb Shah

Board-Certified Dermatologist

Dr. Muneeb Shah is a double Board-Certified Dermatologist and Micrographic Dermatologic Surgeon in Hudson Yards, New York. He is passionate about educating the public on common skin issues and has accrued a following of 21+ million across his social media platforms on TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube.

Location: New York City, NY

Doctor's Note

Skin tags are benign growths that occur due to genetics, friction from clothing, and insulin resistance

DIY removal methods can lead to complications

Accurate diagnosis by a dermatologist is crucial because skin tags can resemble other skin growths

Treatments like cryotherapy (freezing) or surgical removal (snipping), followed by proper care, are recommended by dermatologists.

The Research

Köseoğlu HG, Bozca BC, Başsorgun Cİ, Sarı R, Akbaş SH, Karakaş AA. The role of insulin-like growth factor in Acrochordon Etiopathology. BMC Dermatol. 2020

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