There are a number of safe and effective options for removing skin tags at home. Some methods have varying degrees of risk for bleeding. And if there is bleeding, then there is also a risk of infection and/or scarring.
Skin tags do not pose any health risk. They’re simply extra skin, hanging by a tiny stalk, containing collagen and blood vessels. They’re basically “extensions” of your skin, albeit abnormal. They’re normally flesh-colored, soft to the touch, and about the same size as a grain of rice; but they can grow in size over time. While a skin tag is classified as a tumor, it is benign – which means it is not cancerous.
Usually, there is no medical reason to remove a skin tag. People who opt for removal often do so for cosmetic reasons. A skin tag can look unsightly, particularly when it’s bigger than normal, appear in a visible area of the body (such as the face or neck), or is part of a cluster. Needless to say, a skin tag can make one self-conscious and have low self-esteem.
A skin tag can get irritated and even infected if it is prone to getting snagged on clothing or constantly rubbed against another skin surface or fabric. An irritated skin tag should be seen by a doctor, who may recommend removal.
Whether it’s for cosmetic reasons or a medical necessity, there are safe and effective skin tag removal options that one can do at home, or that they can have a doctor perform. Some of them will have a greater risk for bleeding than others.
Will there be bleeding if a skin tag is removed?
As previously mentioned, a skin tag also has blood vessels so there is a risk for bleeding if it is not properly removed. What are the factors that can cause bleeding?
- The bigger the skin tag, the greater the risk for bleeding.
- Removing skin tag clusters.
- If the skin tag is near a vein.
- If a skin tag that is being treated is removed prematurely.
- Skin tag removal by cutting or surgical excision.
If there is bleeding, wash the area with soap and warm water, and put pressure on the wound. You can treat it with an antiseptic to prevent infection, especially if the wound is big/deep. Cover the wound with gauze or a band-aid. If it continues to bleed for more than 10 minutes, despite constant pressure, you should go to a doctor as you may need stitches. Follow proper aftercare as you would for any wound.
Skin tag removal options
Removing a skin tag typically involves cutting off circulation to the growth, thereby killing it. Some methods provide quick results, with the skin tag immediately detached after treatment. Others involve waiting a few days, weeks, or even months for the skin tag to completely dry out and fall off on its own.
Tea Tree Oil
The essential oil works by drying out the skin tag. Treatment requires 2-3 times of daily application, and may last between 3 and 6 weeks. During the course of the treatment, the skin tag will become darker in color and shrivel as it slowly dies. It’s important not to pick at or pull off the skin tag even if it looks like it’s ready to fall off. You have to allow it to fall off on its own; you will risk some bleeding, otherwise.
Tea tree oil’s natural antiseptic properties will also help with proper skin healing after the skin tag falls off. While the treatment requires patience and diligence, you won’t have to worry about infection.
This method simply involves tightly tying off the base of the stalk with a band to cut off circulation to the skin tag. After a few days or weeks, the skin tag will dry out and fall off on its own. The band has to stay on 24/7 until the skin tag falls off, and you may have to retighten it every now and then. Again, it’s important not to pull off the skin tag prematurely or it might bleed and become infected.
You can use a piece of floss or cotton string, or a specially-made ligation band, such as the TagBand skin tag removal device, which is available over-the-counter and online.
This involves cutting the skin tag at its base using a scalpel or a pair of scissors. While it is a minor procedure, it is best performed by a doctor as there will be some pain and bleeding. It is a quick way to remove a skin tag, but there is greater risk for bleeding, infection, and scarring because the method will leave an open wound. The bigger the skin tag, the greater the risk.
Depending on the removal method, you may have to keep it covered to keep it from being disturbed and irritated, or even accidentally torn off. Wear looser clothing during treatment and while the treated area is healing. Do not pick at or scratch the scab, if it forms. You can apply aloe vera gel or tea tree oil to help facilitate skin healing.
If you do experience some bleeding, you can apply topical antibiotic, such as Neosporin, to prevent infection and allow faster healing. Keep the area clean and dry for one to two days after the bleeding has stopped.
If the skin tag is located in a sensitive area, such as the eyelid or groin, it’s better to go to a doctor to have it removed.
As long as you choose the right method and follow proper procedure and aftercare, there will be minimal to zero risk for bleeding, infection, and scarring. If you’re unsure about what to do or notice something that worries you while you’re treating a skin tag, always consult a doctor.