Published on Aug 05, 2022 and last reviewed on Feb 24, 2023 - 4 min read
Skin tags are non-cancerous growth hanging off the skin caused due to constant rubbing of the skin. Read the article below to know more.
Skin is subjected to numerous outgrowths like freckles, keloids, moles, tags, etc. Skin tags are otherwise known as acrochordons. These are non-cancerous outgrowths hanging off the skin from a thin stalk. It is a very common outgrowth and is believed that half the population will have at least one skin tag during their lifetime. Skin tags can be found under the armpit, neck, breasts, genitals, and eyelids. The size of the tags might range from 2 mm to half an inch. Skin tags on eyelids can be seen less commonly. Usually, it will heal on its own, but in cases causing irritation and vision obstruction, tags will have to be removed with the help of a doctor.
A doctor will use one of the below methods to remove the skin tags from the eyelids.
Cryotherapy is a very efficient method to remove skin tags. Cryotherapy uses liquid nitrogen to freeze the skin tags. The doctor will apply the liquid nitrogen over the skin tags with a cotton swab. The liquid nitrogen application will cause a burning sensation that will settle in some time. The frozen tag will fall off in one to two weeks. A blister can occur at the site of liquid nitrogen application, and it will heal in two to three weeks. Use of creams and ointments over the blister is not advised.
In case of small and narrow skin tags, the doctor would suggest ligation. First, the base of the skin tag will be tied with dental floss or cotton to cut off blood supply, and eventually, it will fall off in a week’s time.
Electrosurgery is done using an electric current from a particular instrument called electrocautery. It is a process of burning the skin tags. First, the skin tag will be applied with an anesthetizing topical gel, and an electric current will be applied to the base of the skin tag for the tissue to die. Once the application is over, the skin tag will fall off. This method is efficient and produces good results.
4. Surgical Excision
In case of large skin tags, surgical scissors or a scalpel will be used to cut off the tag. Then, electrocautery will be used to stop the bleeding.
There are a lot of at-home treatments suggested for skin tag removal. For example, many sources recommend using apple cider vinegar. But consulting with a specialist doctor is essential to know if it is safe to be removed that way. Few also suggest tying the base of the skin tag with a string of dental floss, sometimes hair, etc., to stop the blood supply to the tag and eventually fall off. If the base of the tag is so thick, ligation will result in profuse bleeding and infection.
Once a skin tag is removed,
In case the patient experiences fever, extreme pain, pus discharge, and troubling vision, it is suggested to seek a doctor immediately to avoid further complications.
The following factors are more likely to increase the risk of skin tags on eyelids.
Family history of skin tags.
Presence of medical conditions like diabetes, obesity, and Birt-hogg-Dube syndrome (a disorder of the skin and lungs causing multiple non-cancerous tumors).
Pregnancy can also predispose to skin tag formation.
In most cases, skin tags will not cause many problems with vision and overall eye health. But in some instances, it might become severe and cause complications.
Vision will be obstructed in case the skin tags are present along the edges of the eyelid.
If the patient constantly scratches the tags, then pain, redness, and swelling can be noticed.
It tends to cause constant irritation because of the sensation of grain between the folds of the eyelids.
The patient will not be able to close the eyes.
It is not possible to prevent skin tags from occurring. But there are a few ways to keep skin tags in check.
Make sure the skin folds are dry after a bath to avoid friction. Use baby powders in the areas like armpits which tend to retain moisture.
Maintaining a healthy weight is essential—practice weight-maintaining activities like yoga, walking, weight training, jogging, sports, etc. Avoid junk foods and eat a healthy green diet. Consulting with a nutritionist to work on a low-fat diet and calories will produce great results.
Wear breathable cotton fabrics and avoid wearing clothes and accessories that cause irritation. Avoid nylon fabrics.
Skin tags might appear similar to different conditions such as,
Mole - Dark brown skin growths.
Warts - It is caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) and often presents as skin-colored bumps.
Seborrheic Keratosis - It is a non-cancerous skin growth and is wart-like growth. Aging and sun exposure is found to be the cause.
Skin tags might look scary, but in reality, it is a non-harmful growth that has to be removed when it interrupts daily activities. Therefore, seeking a doctor’s help to remove the tags is suggested rather than doing it by oneself.
Last reviewed at:
24 Feb 2023 - 4 min read
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