Skin tags are growths that may appear as an enlarged mole or a tiny flap of hanging skin. They are harmless, but many people opt to get them removed because they can be unsightly, irritating and at times painful. There are several ways to remove skin tags, such as surgery and home remedies, but one of the most popular methods is freezing them off with dry ice. This method is known as cryotherapy.
Causes of Skin Tags
The main cause of skin tags has not been discovered, but there are a few influential factors that may make you more prone to developing them. Heredity can play a role in the development of skin tags. For instance, babies born to parents who have skin tags are more likely to develop them as well. Obesity is also a cause of these skin growths. People who are overweight will generally see them on their neck, groin, armpits and eyelids, as skin rubbing together contributes to their growth. In addition, pregnant women have a greater chance of getting skin tags, as do people with type 2 diabetes. Pregnant women usually see the growths disappear after they give birth.
Cryotherapy is generally performed by a dermatologist as an outpatient procedure with no anesthesia. You may experience a small amount of pain during the procedure, but it doesn't last long. The dry ice is pressed against the skin tag, which freezes it and kills the cells, preventing them from growing further. If your skin tag is considerably large, you may need a second application of dry ice before it completely falls off. Generally, skin tags fall off within seven to 10 days. The procedure generally takes around a minute to complete.
There are quite a few benefits to removing skin tags with cryotherapy, as it is a very easy procedure and carries much less risk than surgical removal. Also, cryotherapy stimulates your immune system, allowing you to fight off infections easier. Some patients, such as the elderly, may not respond well to surgical removal, so cryotherapy is the best way to go in those cases. Also, cryotherapy is a bit cheaper than surgical removal, so it is easier on your pockets.
In most cases, the pros of cryotherapy outweigh the cons. However, cryotherapy does have its shortcomings. After having your skin tag frozen, you may experience blisters and swelling and could be left with a scar in the location where the cryotherapy was performed. You may also notice a temporary change in skin pigmentation, but permanent changes are rare. Also, there is a slight chance of developing an infection.