Skin tags are usually pretty small, about 2mm-5mm. They can, however, grow much larger, to between 20 and 50 mm. Having a small skin tag can make us feel self-conscious, so you may feel a sense of urgency to remove large skin tags. This is especially true if it is somewhere visible like on your face or neck, or in an uncomfortable spot making it easier for the skin tag to get irritated or pulled. Let’s take a look at some of your options when you find your skin tag is getting larger than you’re comfortable with.
What does it mean when skin tags get bigger
Skin tags are just bulbs of blood vessels and collagen fibers. They have a number of possible causes, but friction is a major catalyst for skin tags. The friction softens the skin and pushes the blood vessels and collagen up into the soft skin, forming the skin tag. When a skin tag is getting bigger, it just means that more blood and fibers are being pushed up into the skin tag causing it to grow. That’s why it is better to try to remove skin tags while they are still small. It is slightly more difficult to remove large skin tags and it is easier for large skin tags to become snagged or scratched.
Risks of removing large skin tags
Larger skin tags do have a larger peduncle — the stalk of skin that attaches it to the body — and contain more blood. So if you try to remove large skin tags at home, there are a few risks you should be aware of.
- Bleeding – Don’t underestimate how much a skin tag can bleed. Especially a large one. They are after all made up of blood vessels. The larger the skin tag, the more blood vessels it contains. Removing a skin tag abruptly can result in profuse bleeding. If this does happen, hold a clean cloth or cotton balls to the area until the bleeding stops. Apply an antiseptic cream and cover with a band-aid.
- Scarring – As the skin tag grows, more skin will form to hold it on. Depending on the removal method you choose, some skin tags may leave a scar if the skin tag is cut from this live tissue. Care must be taken when removing large skin tags.
- Infection – Any time you break the skin you open yourself up to infection. Removing large skin tags by cutting the stalk of the tag means you may tear your skin, making you susceptible to infection.
Removal options for large skin tags
When removing large skin tags, you may want to chat with your doctor to prevent risking excessive bleeding or scarring. We do realize though that this may not be an ideal option for those on a budget or who don’t have the time for a doctor’s visit. When removing a large skin tag yourself, the last thing you want to do is try pulling it or cutting it off. Opt for a method that chokes the skin tag, causing it to dry up and fall off on its own. This helps avoid any abrupt breaking of the skin and the associated risks.
Tagbands is a handy tool for placing a small band over the base of the skin tag which cuts off its blood supply. This causes them to die and fall off. TagBands come in two sizes. Micro TagBands are for small to medium skin tags and TagBands which are good for medium to large skin tags. This is usually a one-time application method for skin tags. For removing large skin tags, you may find you need to wait and see how your skin tag responds to the first band. If it doesn’t completely fall off, you may need to place the second band.
Freezing a skin tag also cuts off the blood supply to the skin tag. The blood vessels are flash frozen and the skin tag starts to change color right away. After a few days, the skin tag will fall off. If you have a particularly large skin tag, you can visit the doctor to have it frozen with liquid nitrogen. If they are medium to large or you can freeze them at home with an over-the-counter product such as W Compound Freeze Off Wart Remover. These wart removal products work with skin tags too. Follow the instructions on the box to freeze your skin tag. Wait to see the results as you may have to freeze them more than once if they are very large.