What are skin tags?
According to the NHS, skin tags are generally small growth hanging off your skin. They are quite common but tend to be harmless, but you can remove them if they are bothering you. Skin tags are fine, noncancerous growth, and they form mostly within the neck eyelids, breasts, groin area, armpits’ folds. The growths are usually lodged inside thicker parts of your skin.
When it comes to what causes skin tags, the help experts have not clearly explained under what circumstances they develop. However, they may form as a result of friction or when your skin rubs against each other. Skin tags are common among ageing adults, people with diabetes, and overweight people. Although they are painless and harmless, they can become painful once snagged by clothing or jewellery. If these skin tags are bothering you, there is always some relief or remedies. You can opt for home remedies, but you can try surgical options if they fail to be effective.
What skin tags look like
Skin tags are soft, small growths that take the colour of your skin. They vary in colour and size. They are mostly found in your body’s thick areas, such as around your groin, under your breasts, on the neck, and under your armpits. They can also develop under your eyelids or buttocks. They can be similar to warts, but they have the following characteristic that make them different from warts:
- They tend to be soft and smooth, while warts are rougher with irregular surfaces.
- They hang off your skin, while warts tend to be flat or slightly raised.
- They are non-contagious, but warts spread quickly and easily, so when you experience a sudden cluster of skin growths, the possibility of them being warts is higher.
- Skin tags are harmless and painless, but warts tend to be painful and cause a lot of discomforts. Warts also need immediate medical attention.
How to identify a skin tag
The easiest way to identify skin tags is by using a peduncle. Unlike other skin growths, a skin tag will hang off your skin when using this tiny stalk.
Most skin tags are small: mostly less than 2 mm in size. But, some can develop to and be large to attain several centimetres. You can also identify skin tags by just touching them; they are usually very soft and smooth. Also, skin tags may be round, asymmetrical, or wrinkly. Some of these skin tags have a threadlike appearance, which resembles a rice grain. Commonly, skin tags take the colour of your skin. Sometimes, they can be darker than your skin tone as a result of hyperpigmentation. If you twist your skin tag, it turns black as a result of the absence of blood flow.
Causes of skin tags
Skin tags consist of blood vessels or loose collagen fibres surrounded by skin. Collagen is a protein category that is found everywhere in your body. Skin tags can develop in both women’s and mens’ skins. They are more prevalent in ageing adults, overweight people and people who have type 2 diabetes. Also, pregnant women are likely to get skin tags due to a sudden change in their hormone levels and weight gain. Notwithstanding, some people develop skin tags for no apparent reason. Overweight and aged people are most prone because to excess folds and skin chafing.
Skin tags are not contagious at all. However, a genetic connection may exist, but not very clear, as it is very unusual to have multiple members of the same family having skin tags.
When can skin tags be an issue?
As we have already established, skin tags are painless, harmless, and do not cause any discomfort. However, they can mess up your self-esteem. If you feel like they are affecting you, you can have them removed. Also, if they snag on jewellery or clothing, causing bleeding, you may consider removing them. You can opt for home remedies or visit your doctor for more advice.
If your skin tags require surgery, you will need to have them privately removed and forced to pay for that process. The removal of skin tags is classified as cosmetic surgery, which is not readily available under the NHS. Cosmetic surgery is available through the NHS if the issue is affecting a person’s mental or physical health. Fortunately, skin tags can sometimes fall off on their own due to tissue twisting or dying due to lack or inadequate blood supply.
Risk factors to look out for
If you have any of the following, you are at a higher risk of having skin tags:
- You have several family members with skin tags.
- You have type 2 diabetes or insulin resistance.
- You have HPV
Home remedies for skin tags
In most cases, skin tags will not need treatment or a doctor’s visit. If you decide to remove skin tags, you can do this using product in your kitchen or medicine cabinet. Most DIY remedies at home dry out the skin tags to shrink them to a smaller size until they fall off. The following are home products you can use that may help you to get rid of your skin tags:
1. Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil has antifungal and antiviral properties, which can be useful for your skin. When using this product, you should follow the following steps:
- Clean the affected part using water.
- Using a cotton swab or a Q-tip, massage the tea tree oil over your skin tag.
- Place a bandage on the affected area and leave it overnight.
- Repeat this process for a few nights until they dry out and fall off on their own.
2. Banana peel
The banana peels that you always toss away can be very helpful for treating a skin tag. You can use them to dry out your skin tag, which later dries off. You need to place the banana peel over the skin tag and cover it with a piece of bandage. Repeat this over some time until the skin tag falls off on its own.
3. Apple cider vinegar
Take a cotton swab and soak it in apple cider vinegar, and put the cotton swab over the affected area. Wrap the area with a bandage for around 15 to 30 minutes, and clean up the skin. Repeat this process every day for several weeks until the skin tag falls off. The acid in the apple cider vinegar works by breaking down the tissues surrounding your skin tags, making the skin tag fall off.
4. Vitamin E
Ageing largely causes skin tags due to multiple skin folds. Vitamin E is a good antioxidant element for fighting wrinkles for healthy skin. Applying vitamin E in liquid form on the affected area may help the growth to disappear when you maintain a consistent application for a while, maybe a couple of days. All that is required of you is just massage the liquid vitamin E over your skin tags and the surrounding skin until they fall off.
Garlic helps in improving the skin appearance by reducing inflammation. To easily get rid of a skin tag, crush garlic, apply it over affected parts of your body, and cover the parts with a bandage overnight. Remove the bandage in the morning and wash the part with clean water. Repeat the process until the tags shrink and vanish away.
How doctors remove skin tags
The following are different ways through which your doctor can remove skin tags:
1. Cutting it off
Doctors can snip off your skin tags using surgical scissors or a scalpel. Also, they can shave off flush together with your skin. However, skin growths such as moles can have cells underneath the skin, which may force your doctor to make a deeper cut to ensure the entire mole is removed to prevent it from reappearing again. Such cuts may even require stitches.
2. Freeze using liquid nitrogen
Your doctor may also consider freezing your skin tag using liquid nitrogen. Your skin tag can disappear after some time by swabbing or spraying a little amount of extra-cold liquid nitrogen. The process may cause small blisters on the affected areas, but it will heal after a while on its own.
3. Burning it off
Your doctor may pass an electric current through a wire, making the wire super hot and use it to burn off the top layers of the skin tags. For other skin growths, such as moles, you may require more than one skin treatment. However, your doctor can burn them via a narrow stem that attaches to the skin to prevent bleeding. The process may be painful, and it may require your doctor to numb the area to be treated with an anaesthetic prior to the entire procedure. In case of any bleeding, your doctor can apply some medicine to prevent or halt bleeding and put a bandage on the area. This procedure is really good as it leaves no marks or scars.
How diet improves your skin
Skin is the largest body organ. The skin layer works hard to ensure all the inner parts of the boy are protected. When the skin is affected or compromised, it loses its ability to function effectively. We have researched several ways through which you can improve your skin through diet.
There is an entire skincare industry dedicated to manufacturing products to keep your skin healthy and glowing. The products also help in reducing the levels of your skin ageing. Most consumers fail to understand that the products help only the outside of the skin, while ageing develops at the cellular level. What you take maybe even more important than the products you use on your skin. Your diet helps to improve your skin from the inside out. So, a clear and healthy complexion will start with taking a healthy diet. Below are some foods that researchers have proved to be effective in taking care of your skin:
Mangoes have compounds that contain antioxidant properties. These compounds are very good for offering protection to your skin components, especially collagen.
Tomatoes contain some elements that are very beneficial in protecting your skin from cancer. Daily consumption of tomatoes reduces the chances of skin cancer development tumours by nearly 50% after exposure to UV light. Also, putting tomato paste into your diet can protect your skin against sunburns. Lycopene, the tomato compound that gives the tomato its deep red colour, may also protect your skin against UV light.
3. Olive oil
Olive oil help in reducing cumulative skin damage such as wrinkles, discolouration, and dark spots, which are a result of long-term exposure to the sunlight.
4. Cocoa flavanols
Cocoa flavanol is found mainly in dark chocolate, and it can be useful in improving your skin structure and functions. Scientists found that cocoa flavanols reduce scaling and roughness on your skin. They also increase your skin hydration levels and improve skin’s defences against UV rays.
5. Green tea
Green tea has been associated with a number of skin benefits. Polyphenols, compounds in green tea, help to rejuvenate your skin’s dying cells, suggesting they may help heal different skin conditions. Green tea has proved to heal skin conditions such as dandruff and psoriasis. If you have flaky, dry, or red skin, it results from overproduction or inflammation of skin cells. Green tea may be useful in slowing down the rate of skin cell production and suppressing inflammation. White tea also has anti-ageing and anti-cancer properties. Some studies show that white tea can protect your skin against immune cell damage and oxidative stress.
Kale is amongst the best sources of zeaxanthin and lutein. These two compounds may help to protect your skin against skin damage caused by UV rays.
Skin tags may not cause any concerns for most people. However, they are generally a nuisance. If they are not bothering you and you are unsure about the treatment, you can leave them alone, but you should know more skin tags might appear on the affected area.
Some skin tags can be very stubborn, and they may need different treatments. Home skin tags remedies take a while to get rid of skin tags, so you need to be patient. Sometimes, skin tags may reappear after treatment, and they need to be treated over again.