Skin tags getting bigger isn’t an unfounded concern, they can grow! But how big can skin tags grow?
Regular skin tag growth
Skin tags are commonly small. They may not feel that way if they are in an obvious place like your eye, lip or face, but they usually are just 1 – 5 mm in diameter. They can grow bigger to about 2 – 5 cm though — that is already considered pretty large. Skin tags that size, depending on where they are, can already be bothersome. Considering friction is one of the main causes of skin tags, it would probably be in an area that gets rubbed a lot and can easily get caught or snagged. By this stage, most people will have them removed because it is no longer just a cosmetic issue but becomes risky for getting twisted, scratched or pulled off.
Extra Large Skin Tags
There are some instances where a large skin tag hasn’t been removed and has just kept growing. These are very rare cases, but considering we are discussing how big a skin tag can grow, they are worth mentioning. There are some documented cases of skin tags growing as big as 10cm with one of the largest recorded skin tag measuring 18cm in diameter. The biggest recorded skin tag comes in at 30cm.
Removing large skin tags
Removing large skin tags is a little trickier than smaller ones. They require more care when being removed as they have a more substantial blood supply and can bleed abundantly. Large skin tags should be removed by a doctor. It is also not common for skin tags to grow this size, so your doctor will also want to send it to the lab for testing to ensure it is harmless.
Your first concern when removing a skin tag should be your health and safety. Removing small skin tags yourself is mostly harmless and there a range of options to choose from when doing so. However, when removing large skin tags, caution and common sense should be exercised. Even a 3-centimeter skin tag is significant. That is over an inch in size, which means it will probably be attached to the skin by a larger peduncle. If not removed probably, can bleed, cause scarring, and possibly get infected. Examine your skin tag and determine if it is small enough for you to safely remove yourself.
Going against the above advice of visiting a doctor to remove large skin tags, removing them from home is still possible. Your practical options are:
Tagbands are a great product to ligate your skin tag. Using a small band and a useful application device, you simply place the band at the base of the skin tag. It works by cutting off the blood supply to the skin tag, causing it to die and fall off.
The pros of using Tagbands to remove large skin tags are:
i – Tagbands are actually designed for large skin tags. They come in two sizes. Micro Tagbands for small to medium skin tags and Tagbands for medium to large skin tags.
ii – The application device that the Tagband comes with are a good indicator of whether a skin tag is too large for you to remove yourself. The applicator works by fitting over the skin tag and then moving the band over the device to sit at the base skin tag. If you are unable to place the applicator over your skin tag, it is probably too big for you to be removing yourself and it is a good idea to consult your doctor or dermatologist about it.
If you feel comfortable performing procedures on yourself, you can try cautery. Cautery pens are easy enough to purchase. They are a heat tipped device that removes and cauterize the area where the skin tag attaches to the skin. For large skin tags, a doctor will usually use a local anesthetic when cauterizing a skin tag. If you are going to do it yourself at home, we suggest at least using a topical anesthetic to numb the area.