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How Are Skin Tags Removed?


Doctors use three basic methods to get rid of skin tags depending on skin pigmentation and location: cutting them off, freezing them off (cryosurgery) and burning them off (electrosurgery).

What Are Skin Tags?

Skin tags are most common among middle-aged people who are overweight and-or suffer from diabetes. Statistically speaking, women also tend to get them more often than men, with areas of concentration encompassing under the breasts, the groin area, neck, chest, back and armpits.

Because a great majority of medical insurance plans do not pay for the removal of skin tags, and the fact that they are not a life-threatening condition, many people tend to put off dealing with them. However, compared to many other cosmetic medical procedures, the cutting off skin tags is a relatively simple and cheap procedure; one that people may wrongly assume is going to be much more expensive.


Patients with lighter skin may opt for cryotherapy, a method of removal that has been around for roughly 100 years. Originally, liquid air and compressed carbon dioxide were used, but today the standard ingredient of cryotherapy is the application of a liquid nitrogen spray. After five seconds of spraying, the doctor is generally able to snip the skin tag off, without the need for any further anesthetic or other numbing substance.


Although electrosurgery is most often used for the treatment of cancerous skin conditions, it can also be relied upon as a safe and scar-free method for the removal of skin tags. Unless a patient is particularly susceptible to pain, there is no need, like cryotherapy, for the application of a local anesthetic. Electrosurgery is the most expensive form of treatment for skin tags, and therefore the least common solution opted for by patients.

Interesting Fact

The technical term for a skin tag is acrochorda, pluralized as acrochordons. Although these lesions are generally very small, there have been occasional instances of unusually large occurrences. In one such case, a 40-year-old woman had to have removed a skin tag from her thigh that was relative to the size of a small football.



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“Cutaneous Skin Tags: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia.” National Library of Medicine – National Institutes of Health. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 July 2010.

” Skin Tags | DERMAdoctor.” Dermatologist recommended skin care products and skin health information. | DERMAdoctor. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 July 2010.

Andrews MD, Mark D. “Cryosurgery for Common Skin Conditions.” American Academy of Family Physicians 69.10 (2004): 2365-2372. American Academy of Family Pysicians. Web. 2 July 2010.

Hainer MD, Barry L, and Richard B Usatine MD. “Electrosurgery for the Skin.” American Academy of Family Physicians 66.7 (2002): 1259-1267. American Academy of Family Pysicians. Web. 2 July 2010.

Choudhary MD, Soudesh T. “Treatment of Unusually Large Acrochordon by Shave Excision and Electrodesiccation.” Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery 1.1 (2008): 21-22. Pub Med Central. Web. 2 July 2010.

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