This Is What Really Happens When You Freeze Off Skin Tags

Skin tags are small, flesh-colored flaps of tissue that typically occur in areas where skin rubs together, such as the neck, under arm area, under the breasts, or the groin (via Cleveland Clinic). Individuals who are overweight or obese, have type 2 diabetes, or are pregnant are more likely to get skin tags, though anyone can get them (via WebMD). Although skin tags can be unsightly and annoying, they are usually harmless and do not cause pain.

Still, sometimes skin tags can cause irritation or they might snag on clothing or jewelry. You may want them removed for these reasons or you simply might not like how they look. Skin tags will need to be removed by a doctor. One method for doing this is called "cryotherapy," or freezing it off. A healthcare provider will use very cold liquid nitrogen on the skin tag, which will then fall off in 10 to 14 days after the treatment. While it is a very effective way to remove skin tags, side effects can include skin irritation around the treated area.

Other ways skin tags can be removed

Skin tags can also be removed by numbing the area and snipping the flap of tissue off. Again, this needs to be done by a doctor and should not be attempted at home. Another method is called electrodessication, in which a doctor dries out the skin tag with a needle-like electrode that transmits an electric current into the skin growth. You should keep in mind that skin tag removal is usually considered a cosmetic procedure and not covered by many insurance companies.

Though it may be tempting to try to remove a skin tag yourself, don't. Cutting skin tags off at home or tying them off with a string or fishing line (a touted method online) can lead to bleeding and infection. You should also steer clear of other home remedies to remove skin tags, including apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil, and garlic, as these can lead to irritation. Finally, skin tags are not cancerous, but if they become twisted, irritated, or they bleed, you should visit a doctor.