Skin tags or acrochorda are soft, moveable folds of flesh, usually under a centimeter in size and either the same color or slightly darker than the surrounding skin. They tend to form in areas of the body where creases of skin rub together, such as the neck, armpits or groin. They can also appear on the face, chest or back. Although they pose no risk to health, clusters of acrochorda are often regarded as unattractive. Those who wish to remove skin tags for cosmetic reasons have several methods to choose from.
Cauterization is a technique routinely used by doctors to remove acrochorda with minimal bleeding. A local anesthetic is administered to the affected area. A sterile electrolysis needle is then used to cut and seal the capillaries at the base of the tag and to burn off the growth cells. The resulting wound must be kept clean and covered until it is completely healed. Antibiotics are sometimes prescribed.
Cryotherapy involves freezing the acrochorda. A dermatologist uses an applicator or spray to apply an intensely cold substance such as liquid nitrogen to the skin tag, destroying the cells. The process can take between five seconds and one minute depending on the size of the tag. The patient may experience a painful burning sensation during this time.
Laser treatment is the most expensive method of skin tag removal. It tends to be performed in cosmetic surgery clinics. During a procedure lasting less than ten minutes, a laser is used to painlessly cut through the base of the tag. This technique rarely leaves a scar and is sought after by those with facial acrochorda.
Small acrochorda, especially those on narrow stalks, are often surgically excised. A dermatologist uses sterile scissors or a scalpel to cut the tag off at the base. The procedure is over so quickly that aesthetic is not usually required. Some people successfully perform this procedure on themselves at home using manicure scissors or nail clippers. Care must be taken to avoid infection.
Ligation is a common home treatment for acrochorda. A piece of thread or dental floss is tied tightly around the base of the tag. This cuts off the blood supply to the tissue, causing the tag to whither. If performed correctly, the tag will fall off within a few days. This method typically involves some pain or discomfort. It is impractical for use on the face or on areas which are difficult to reach.
Preparations for removing acrochorda have recently become available at pharmacies and over the internet. These safe and painless home treatments cost significantly less than those performed by medical professionals. A solution is applied to the skin tag which causes it to scab over and drop off in less than ten days.
Acrochorda affect more than forty percent of adults and pose no risk to health if left untreated. But like all skin imperfections, they can lead to self-consciousness and lower self-esteem. With so many effective skin tag removal methods to choose from, clear smooth skin can easily be restored.