Skin tags are also referred to as acrochordons. They usually are skin colored, sometimes a little darker than the rest of the skin, and are most often found where skin constantly rubs against each other.
One such place or region where you often find them is the neck area. The best news about them is that they are benign and pose no health risk.
They usually are not painful or otherwise causing issues. However, if you, for whatever reason, irritate a skin tag then it can get infected which can be painful and cause other health issues.
As they are benign, that unfortunately also means that your insurance will treat any removal procedure as cosmetic in nature and most likely won’t pay for it. There are many over the counter treatment options available to get rid of skin tags at home for a reasonable price. Having your dermatologist remove skin tags can quickly grow into the hundreds of dollars or even more!
One commonly used home treatment to treat skin tags is to freeze them off. The most often used product for that is Compound W Freeze. It effectively works to remove your skin tags.
Some people do confuse a skin tag for a wart. A skin tag has a stalk protruding out of the skin that connects it to your body. A wart is a bump with often a somewhat thicker and harder top layer. The good thing is that skin tags are much easier to treat and to get rid of!
If you have your dermatologist remove your skin tags then he or she will most likely use a method called cryotherapy. This procedure involves liquid nitrogen which is applied to the skin tag.
The liquid nitrogen is applied through a special device which allows your dermatologist to pinpoint where the freezing happens. It only takes a few seconds for the freezing process. If no surrounding skin is accidentally touched then the treatment is painless and very effective. There might be some minimal discomfort during the treatment but nothing that would be too bad.
In case of a really large skin tag it might be necessary to anesthetize the area of the skin tag. Otherwise, the freezing can actually turn out to be painful as such a large skin area is treated.
The principle of the treatment is that the cells of the skin tag get destroyed through the extreme cold. When done correctly, the skin tag will turn black within a day or two indicating that it is indeed dead.
After a period of a few days the tag will fall off. Some red skin or irritation around the area of the tag is to be expected after the treatment. This will normalize after a few days and is no reason for concern.
You can purchase freeze kits to treat warts and skin tags at home. They work in a similar fashion as what the dermatologist does. They will usually state that they are designed to work on warts but many people have used them successfully on skin tags. It's the same way to treat both conditions and as such they can be used. However, if there's any doubt in your mind about using such wart freezer kits then use other remedies that are available to treat your skin tags.
Skin tags are great for freezing. The skin is thin and can easily be penetrated by the cold. That’s why freeze kits for home work much better on skin tags compared to warts. It’s much easier to penetrate the skin of a tag compared to a wart!
Kits like Compound W Freeze are easy to obtain and cheap. Compared to what your dermatologist charges you to treat a single skin tag, you probably can treat any and all skin tags you will ever experience in your lifetime with an over-the-counter skin tag remedy like that. Probably even all skin tags of all your family members. And the results are usually the same!
Compound W Freeze or Dr. Scholl's FreezeAway are great alternatives to use to freeze skin tags off at home. Your health insurance won’t cover the treatment in any case as it’s cosmetic and nature and not a health risk.
Your chances of a successful treatment depend on you following the instructions on the package to the dot. Do not forget that you use a potent freezing agent that can cause skin damage if you don’t apply it correctly and if you use it anywhere else on your body besides your tag(s).
There are a few OTC treatments that will freeze your tags off. The best by far is Compound W Freeze and as such it’s the recommended remedy.
In theory you could purchase liquid nitrogen and perform the procedure yourself. However, you are risking your health that way as it’s not a packaged kit that is safe to use for a non-medical person.
You won’t save yourself any money by buying the liquid nitrogen itself and you only risk your health. It is a much safer and more reliable approach to use a tailored freezing product like Compound W Freeze to remove your skin tags.
If your tags are not large in size then you can expect the OTC freezing treatment to work safely and reliably. That’s at least true for most medium and normal sized skin tags.
It might pose a little problem if your skin tags are tiny. You want to make sure that the freezing agent of your remedy will only affect the skin tag(s) and not the surrounding skin. If you fear that you will freeze a lot of skin around the tag in the process then try other methods that are not freezing based. Tea Tree Oil can be a fantastic alternative in that case. It works at least as reliable as freezing the tag but you can pinpoint the application much easier.
Another issue can be if your skin tags are really large. The freezing can in that case easily cause pain and you might not be able to get enough freezing agent deep into the skin tag. The result would be that the tag is not completely dead and will not die off!
Really large skin tags can also be treated with Tea Tree Oil or, if the band fits over the head of the tag, with the TagBand solution. This treatment suffocates the skin tag with no pain, no chemicals and no risk of skin damage and is the overall recommended treatment for any kind of skin tag!
Treating your skin tags at home with an OTC freezing kit like Compound W Freeze is usually perfectly safe. That is if the skin tags are sized so you can apply the freezing agent without damaging any surrounding skin and you have enough to make sure that the whole skin tag gets frozen and destroyed.
The advantage of freezing the skin tag off is that you usually only have to apply the treatment once. Other remedies require the continuous application until the skin tag dies. From that perspective, freezing them off is very convenient and will usually result in success.
The chance of scars after the skin tag falls off is minimal. If you follow the directions and instructions then there’s practically no chance that you’ll develop scars after the treatment.
After the one-time application you will have to wait a few weeks for the skin tag to completely die and fall off. You might want to cover the tag during that process with a band aid. That way you won’t have to search for the fallen off piece of skin when it comes off!
Skin tags can develop around your eyes or in sensitive areas of your body like your genitals. In both these cases the skin is very sensitive and to avoid pain or potential scarring, you want to avoid using a freezing treatment applied by yourself.
There are OTC skin tag treatments that are perfectly safe to use in those sensitive areas like TagBand or in many cases even Tea Tree Oil. If your tags are in such a sensitive location and you do not feel comfortable to use an OTC remedy then have them removed by your dermatologist. It’s more expensive but you can be sure that there’s no side effects or health risks from the treatment by a professional!