Skin tags are harmless skin growths that affect both women and men in their senior years. They vary from one person to another in terms of size and number. Large skin tags are more noticeable than small skin tags.
Skin tags tend to take the color of the skin for most people but others can take a darker shade. They grow in areas with high friction due to creases or folds such as eyelids, armpits, under the breast, or groin folds.
People who find skin tags bothersome or unappealing get them removed by freezing them off.
So, what does freezing of skin tags entail? In this article, we discuss everything you need to know about freezing off skin tags, other safe methods you can use to remove skin tags, and much more. Read on!
What Do You Need To Know About Freezing Off Skin Tags?
The freezing of skin tag is medically referred to as cryotherapy. This method is used to freeze off skin tags using liquid nitrogen. A liquid nitrogen spray equipment or cotton dipped dipstick is used to apply the liquid nitrogen on the skin tag.
This method is best suited for skin tags on the non-hair-bearing parts of the body or people with light skin tones. The dose to be administered depends on the size of the skin tag and the place of location.
When the liquid nitrogen is applied to the skin tag, you will feel stinging and burning for a few minutes. After the contact between the liquid nitrogen and skin tag, a blister will form which will later become a scab. This scab is expected to fall off within 2-4 weeks.
The goal of using liquid nitrogen is to freeze the skin tag and destroy all the skin cells. This method is less invasive and offers quick recovery thus can be used on people with medical other conditions.
The liquid nitrogen should be of the lowest temperatures of -20 to -30 degrees celsius. The spray methods that your doctor can use include spiral pattern, paintbrush, and direct spray to the skin tag. The following advantages are associated with cryotherapy.
- Minimal care of the wound is required
- The infection risk is exceptionally low
- Minimum preparation time
- No expensive supplies such as injectable anesthesia are required
- No returns for suture removal
Like any other medical procedure, the side effects include;
- Blister formation
- Hair Loss in the area of treatment
What Happens after Freezing Off Your Skin Tag?
As mentioned earlier the scab is expected to fall off within 2-4 weeks. During this time, unless given other directions by your doctor, the area should remain uncovered. One exceptional time that your doctor can cover the area with a bandage for a few days is if the area is tender.
You are also not supposed to remove the scab. It should be left to fall on its own. This reduces the chances of infections or scarring. You should also avoid getting the area soaked for at least 24 hours after the procedure. You can do this by avoiding baths or swimming.
If the place is painful and tender, you can take over-the-counter painkillers such as Tylenol to relieve the pain. If the area is exposed, you should use sunscreen or cover it when going out. This helps the area and skin to heal properly.
Can You Remove a Skin Tag Yourself?
So, is it possible to remove the skin tag yourself? Yes, it is but it is recommended you check with your doctor before you remove it yourself.
It is also advised not to remove the skin tag in the following cases;
- If your tag is long
- If the skin tag is painful, itching, or bleeding
- If the skin tag is located near the eyes or genitals
Let’s now discuss the safest and most effective methods you can use to remove the skin tag yourself.
OTC Freezing Kits
This method is close to the one the doctors use referred to as cryotherapy.
The only difference is that you purchase the freezing kits over-the-counter and freeze the skin tag yourself.
Therefore, you should research and select the freezing kit that can reach the lowest temperatures.
You can use petroleum jelly to protect the skin in the surrounding area before using the freezing kit. If you follow the instructions to the letter, you will need to repeat the procedure a few times for the skin tag to fall off.
You can use skin tag removal creams to remove a skin tag. When using this method you should expect your skin tag to fall off within 2-3 weeks.
Bands and patches
What skin tag bands do is simply ligation. Ligation is the process of cutting off the blood flow in a skin tag. After using the band on your skin tag, it will kill all the blood supply in the skin tag thus killing it.
Patches, on the other hand, are medicated. They should be left on the skin tag for several days for it to come off.
Tea Tree oil
This essential oil never disappoints when it comes to skin conditions. It can however irritate sensitive skin thus should be used carefully.
Apply a few drops of tea tree oil to a cotton ball and affix it with a bandage on the skin tag. You should leave it on for only 10 minutes and repeat this process two times a day until your skin tag falls off.
Liquid iodine is another product that can be used to remove skin tags. You will need to soak a Q-tip in iodine and spread it across the skin tag. Cover up the area with a bandage until the iodine dries up.
This process should be repeated twice a day until the skin tag falls off. When applying iodine, protect your skin in the surrounding area with coconut oil or petroleum jelly.
Other Methods That Doctors Use to Remove Skin Tags
Having a doctor remove your skin tag is the best and safest way to get your skin tag removed. When a doctor is in charge of the procedure, he can for example numb the area of the skin tag with aesthesia to help with the pain. He can also help stop the bleeding if it happens.
We have discussed freezing as one of the methods to get your skin tag removed. There are other ways such as burning and cutting off the skin tag. If you make the decision to remove your skin tag, your doctor can choose or recommend the best way to remove your tag according to its size and location on the body.
An exceptionally high electric charge is used to burn through the narrow stalk that attaches the tag to the skin. The high heat kills the skin tag and prevents breeding.
In this method, the doctor snips off the skin tag with sterile surgical scissors or scalpel. You should not try this at home as this can cause serious bleeding and infections.
What Increases the Risks Of Getting Skin Tags?
Various factors lead to the growth of skin tags on your skin. The friction of the skin is the common cause. When the skin rubs against skin or clothes, that friction stimulates the growth of the skin tags. That’s why you will notice that many skin tags develop on places with folds or creases because of the high friction present.
Another factor that causes skin tags is genetics. If your family has a history of skin tags, then you are susceptible to getting them. This doesn’t mean that you will develop skin tags at some point in your life, no, it means that your chances of getting them are higher than those of other people.
Skin tags are sometimes a side effect of hormonal changes during pregnancy in women. Another cause is weight, overweight people have high chances of skin tags growing on their skin. Increased weight means increased folds in your body. Diabetes type 2 is also a known cause of skin tags.
Age is another cause, these skin tags tend to grow as we grow old. You will find that people with skin tags are mostly in their senior years.
Despite skin tags being harmless, some people still prefer getting them removed. The freezing of skin tags is one common method used to remove them. It involves the application of liquid nitrogen at the lowest temperature on the skin tag. This helps kill the skin tag by forming a blister, and later a scab that falls off eventually.
This method however does not give immediate results as you must wait for about 2-4 weeks for the scab to fall off. It is also not the only one you can use as there are other procedures your doctor can carry out depending on the size and location of your skin tag.
Although the doctors do not recommend the removal of skin tongues at home, there are effective and safe at home methods you can use.
When done by a professional, it is safe for your skin tag to get freezed.