DIY Don't: Removing Skin Tags
Why You Should Leave This Procedure to the Professionals
The dinner party started like any other. The women of the family were gathered in the kitchen prepping dinner and talking skin care. The topics ranged from pores to dark circles but the most interesting conversation revolved around DIY methods of removing skin tags. String wrapped around the base of the tag cutting off the blood supply and bringing the skin to a slow death was one option. Then there was putting duct tape over the tag preventing it from getting air leading to it's inevitable demise (this was a theory, no one in the group had actually tried it). My personal favorite was the grandmother whose went hard core and just cut hers off with a pair of cuticle scissors. I guess after pushing out ten kids, cutting off a skin tag was just another day at the office (couldn't be me though, that just doesn't even sound right- no numbing cream or anything? I'll pass).
However, in the spirit of transparency, I’ll fess up and admit that I’ve gone down that DIY path and used a cryogenic wart remover to try to remove the irritating skin tag sitting ugly up on my collar bone (someone actually thought it was a bug and tried to swipe it away- just a little bit embarrassing). After three treatments, the only thing that I have to show for it is a dark ring around the now even more visible tag taunting me day after day.
There had to be a better way to handle skin tags and thankfully, Carlos Charles, MD founder of Derma di Colore was available to help us out (FYI, Dr. Charles specializes in treating skin of color so we definitely trust his advice). So what was his first piece of advice for those who want to take skin tag removal into their own hands? “Stop! These at-home treatment methods can lead to unnecessary trauma to the skin resulting in dark marks and scarring.” As if that isn’t bad enough, he warned that, “some of these methods can lead to wounds that can become infected.” In other words, leave it to the professionals!
There’s no point of risking dark marks and scarring removing them on your own when a pro can take care of it with the many tools they have at their disposal. Depending on size, shape and location of the tags, they can either be zapped off with an electric current via the electrocautery method. WARNING: Only have this done by a dermatologist or a healthcare professional who has experience performing this procedure otherwise you may end up with hyperpigmentation and scarring.
If being zapped by a current of electricity is too much for you then you can also get rid of skin tags by allowing a doctor to “gently snipping them with sterile scissors and other devices when appropriate,” according Dr. Charles. The cost of these treatments can range from $150-300 per visit if your insurance doesn’t cover it. Just so that we’re clear, every procedure has some form of risk but opting to do it yourself increases the chance of unwanted side effects but this is still your best bet to get rid of your tags safely.