Skin tags (also known as acrochordons) are flesh coloured overgrowths of the skin that hang off from it, looking like small warts. They can be found anywhere on the body, but are most common around the neck, armpits, under breasts and in groin folds. They are harmless and generally cause no symptoms, but they can irritate the area if they become tangled in clothing. They can also be unsightly if they appear in prominent places on the body.
There are many home treatments for skin tag removal, including ligation skin tag removal London bands which can be purchased in shops and used at home. These can be placed around the base of a skin tag, cutting off their circulation and causing them to fall off naturally. Some people have reported a success rate of up to 90%, with no need for additional treatment. Home “freezing” kits are also available, however these can cause irritation and discolouration to the surrounding skin. Other home remedies include the use of tea tree oil and apple cider vinegar, but again these have only anecdotal claims of efficacy.
While there is no definitive answer as to why some people develop skin tags, they are believed to be caused by a build up of blood vessels and loose collagen fibres. People who are diabetic or overweight are at increased risk of developing them, and pregnancy can trigger them due to changes in hormone levels. They can also occur spontaneously for no apparent reason and are sometimes hereditary.
Despite the fact that skin tags are harmless, some people choose to have them removed for cosmetic reasons. They can be unsightly, particularly if they are found in prominent areas of the body such as the eyelids, neck or groin area. They may also be a sign of a tumour which is why it is important to have them evaluated by a medical professional if they change in colour, shape or size.
In some cases, the doctor may suggest removing them if they are causing a physical issue such as rubbing or catching on clothing. However, they are not generally recommended to be removed by self-treatment as this can cause bleeding, irritation and even scarring in the area where the skin tag was removed.
A doctor can assess your skin tags and provide a bespoke plan to have them removed in-clinic. Your consultation is free of charge and you will be able to discuss your concerns with a qualified practitioner, who will then be able to advise you of the most appropriate treatment for your individual needs.
Depending on your specific condition, you will be offered a choice of removal methods including cryotherapy, tying off and surgical excision. Our Plastic Surgeon Mr Masha Singh feels the best method for skin tag removal is a shave excision, which involves applying a local anaesthetic to the area and then using a scalpel to cut off the lesion at its base. This is less invasive than freeze or tying off and results in significantly smaller resulting scars.