Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Can one get rid of skin tags at home?"
I have a few skin tags under my arms that I want to get rid of, but it's expensive to see a dermatologist! Is there a safe way for me to just clip them or freeze them off myself? Or do I have to get professional help?
Skin tags, or acrochordons, are outgrowths of normal skin and occur in approximately one-fourth of adults. Further evaluation to confirm the diagnosis and treatment is done by internists and dermatologists. There is typically a family tendency for skin tags. However, certain medical conditions, such as gastrointestinal illnesses, may rarely be associated with skin tags. Skin tags typically occur in areas of friction, such as the armpit, neck, under the breast, and in the groin region. The appearance is classic but they should be differentiated from other skin lesions such as neurofibromas or certain types of moles. Treatment can be done if the skin tags are irritating or for cosmetic purposes. This procedure is done with a local anesthetic and forceps or fine grade suturing or liquid nitrogen. Given that there is a break in the skin to remove these lesions, the procedure is done in a controlled sterile setting which can not be adequately done in the home setting. If sterility is compromised, there is a risk of infection particularly in areas such as the under-arms where your skin tags are located. Additionally, these lesions may bleed freely after removal requiring immediate stopping of the bleeding with either specialized local medication or even electrosurgery both of which also can only be performed in a controlled clinical setting. It is not possible to come to a diagnosis without examining the patient. The strong recommendation is therefore to get a referral to a dermatologist and get evaluated in person.
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