Skin tags are like the occasional pimple, and besides being unsightly, almost everyone will experience at least one at some point in their lives. Not to be confused with moles, skin tags are small, harmless growths on the surface of the skin that match your skin tone and are often oddly shaped.

“They grow out of your body, but vertically,” dermatologist Neal Schultz previously told POPSUGAR. “Their height is usually much greater than their width. Sometimes they have such delicate stems that they hang by a thread.”

Doctors and dermatologists don’t know much about the causes of skin spots — Dr. Schultz says they’re genetic and are common on the underarms and legs — but it’s normal to think about it if you’ve had one happen to your body. how to remove them. If you’ve landed here, the first thing you should know is that it’s not recommended by professionals to remove skin tags yourself.

“They’re based on tiny skin stalks, so the easiest and safest way to remove them is to go to the doctor’s office,” FAAD dermatologist Kavita Mariwalla tells POPSUGAR. If you decide to get a skin tag from a doctor, the area can be numbed with a local anesthetic before the growth is cut away with sharp scissors.

“You’re completely awake and it’s just a tiny pinch of a very thin needle,” Dr. Marivalla said of the anesthesia. “The result is a very small incision that heals in a few days.”

Although it is possible to remove skin tags at home, the risks of using the wrong method cannot be avoided. “If you try to remove them at home, you can do it wrong and you can inflame the skin tag and get an infection,” says Dr. Mariwalla. “Just beware of the DIY solutions you see on TV or on the Internet; they can cause severe irritant contact dermatitis, and the skin is so irritated that the skin tags fall off.”

If you can’t see a dermatologist or specialist, and you feel you must remove the skin tag yourself, Dr. Schultz recommends wrapping the skin tag tightly (after you’ve cleaned it off). surrounding area with alcohol) to cut off the blood supply before cutting with sterile scissors. To prevent scarring, apply rubbing alcohol, apply ointment and a bandage when finished, and cover until completely healed.

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