View Full Version : Skin tags: ignore, cut, pull or tie?

08-02-2002, 06:54 PM
OK, I have skin tags (http://nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000848.htm) under my arms; there's one really big one (say 10mm long) that really bothers me, because it keeps getting caught on things, plus a load of little ones that I hardly notice.

I removed one a while back by tying it off with a bit of cotton and waiting for it to drop off, but this was rather uncomfortable, constantly, for a few days.

I've heard of people cutting or pulling them off, but this scares me silly; I mean what if it REALLY hurts?

What should I do; any dopers out there who have tried more than one method of removal care to give me a comparative account?

08-02-2002, 07:04 PM
My HMO's PCP recommended I leave them alone or tie them off myself if they really bothered me. Wouldn't you think she'd have some sort of laser handy to do the trick? Oh, wait, that would cost the HMO some money because it's billable and... but I digress.

If I were going to tie one off myself, I'd use a very fine guage nylon fishing to tie it off. It might drop off quicker?

Kaotic Newtral
08-02-2002, 07:04 PM

I'm also afflicted occasionally by these things, especially around my armpits. In the past, I've just pulled them off really, really quickly. For some reason they bleed pretty well but it doesn't really hurt to much. I've never tried cutting them off...it seems that like would hurt a lot more to me.

Good luck.


Arnold Winkelried
08-02-2002, 07:59 PM
Mangetout: Why don't you ask your Primary Care Physician to remove them?

At the site to which you provided a link, they mention cryotherapy. Perhaps keep an ice cube in your armpit before you try to use Kaotic Newtral's "pull them off really, really quickly" method (ouch!)

Kaotic Newtral
08-02-2002, 08:11 PM
Originally posted by Arnold Winkelried
Mangetout: Why don't you ask your Primary Care Physician to remove them?

At the site to which you provided a link, they mention cryotherapy. Perhaps keep an ice cube in your armpit before you try to use Kaotic Newtral's "pull them off really, really quickly" method (ouch!)

Lol, then they'd be all slippery. It's just a quick pull...I don't think they have nerve endings...they don't seem to hurt when pinched. That's why I think cutting would hurt...you might get part of the 'real' skin.

08-02-2002, 08:15 PM
I've had them removed by a doctor (more than once), on my neck. The 'shot' that was given first to do whatever (freeze it? anesthatize? ) hurt more.

They all grew back. and then some.

I'm hoping the next time that my doc tells me they should be removed, I'll have enough of them and in sufficiently sensative areas (currently neck and armpits) that he'll opt for a more generalized 'put her out of it' method, than each individual one.

(and yes, I've pulled some of 'em off when they were small).

08-02-2002, 08:18 PM
I've got some on my neck. Hey! My work has a free clinic that will do stuff like this. I need to go check with them.

Purd Werfect
08-02-2002, 08:21 PM
I pinch them off using my fingernails. It hurts a little, but not bad at all.

08-02-2002, 08:21 PM
A quick snip with some very clean scissors and a little styptic did the trick for me. Didn't hurt a bit.

Larry Mudd
08-02-2002, 08:42 PM
I've only had one or two of them, and I cut them off with no problem. They were pretty small, though. YMMV.

Lynn Bodoni
08-02-2002, 08:45 PM
I use cuticle scissors (very clean) and then I dab some astringent on the area. I've also been known to pinch them off with fingernails. However, I try to use the scissors because they're easier to get VERY clean, and because the edges are generally sharper.

Sometimes it hurts, sometimes it doesn't. I've had them frozen off, burned off with an electric needle, and lasered off. Snipping them off with cuticle scissors generally hurts the least, followed by laser.

If you get one skin tag, you're likely to grow more over time.

08-02-2002, 08:53 PM
If a person has lots of skin tags, it may indicate a tendency to diabetes. So, if overweight, a person with lots of skin tags should consider losing some weight. If sedentary, a person with lots of skin tags should consider becoming more physically active.

08-03-2002, 07:43 AM
I had my doctor remove one by spraying it with something that froze up my skin and then snipped it off and another was frozen off with liquid nitrogen. Both were on my neck so it was fairly quick and easy.
The snip is better IMHO. I sat, no lay in an extremely undignified position for a couple of minutes while the doc tried to freeze off a third which is located behind my scrotum and remains to this day.

08-03-2002, 09:57 AM
My ex-husband had a really bad problem with these under both of his armpits. He went to the doctor to have them removed(and I unfortunately went with him). They only did one side at a time, and basically they just swabbed some betadyne, and then some topical numbing stuff on the area, and he then snipped/yanked them all out. If it had been only one or two, I am guessing it wouldn't have been so bad, but there were a lot of them, and the armpit can be a very sensitive spot, it hurt. The actual proceedure didn't seem to hurt so bad, but he was in a lot of pain for a day or two afterwards. So much so, that I don't believe he ever went back to get the other side done.

I had one under one of my eyes that was causing problems, such as my eyelashes catching on it, etc. My dad had had the same thing, in the same place, and his doctor froze it off. Well, I was at the same doctor for something else, and mentioned it to him, while there, thinking he'd do the freeze thing, and instead he went and got some surgical scissors, and just very quicky snipped it off, no topical, no nothing. It stung a little, but overall didn't really hurt, and there was no pain in the area after it was all over with.

Depending on how many of them you have, and given the location of them(going off of my ex's experience), I'd go to a doctor, and make sure that he/she gave you a shot to numb the area beforehand. You might be a little sore for a day or so, but nothing too terrible.

The one problem with tags under the arms is that they are caused by sweat, and friction, something that that area deals with on a regular basis, so, you're bound to keep getting them. My ex still does, but at least on that one side, it's not nearly as bad now, after having the huge lot of them removed, that he once had.


08-03-2002, 11:06 AM
I have had a few small ones in my armpits, and I snipped them off a few years back with sterilized cuticle snips. It stung a tiny bit, but no real pain to speak of. They stayed gone until very recently, when I had a few reappear, and I plan to do the same with those.

Batsinma Belfry
08-03-2002, 10:38 PM
I got some when I was pregnant. I used acne cream to dry them up, then snipped them with nail clippers.

08-04-2002, 11:25 AM
I've had them removed by two different dermatologists and I've removed some myself by numbing with ice and cutting with a razor blade. The least awful way to go was with the second dermatologist (the first was a jackass and DIY was more painful than I like) and my insurance covered it. I probably wouldn't have gone the MD route had I not had some other things to get hacked off at the same time.

08-04-2002, 01:00 PM
Toenail clippers.

You can close them a little at a time and let the site get "used to the squeeze" and then the last final crimp is not felt at all. Daub a bit of rubbing alcohol when you're done.

08-04-2002, 06:35 PM
OK, for the record, the big one now has cotton thread tied around the stalk; it pinches a little when I move, but hopefully it will fall off in a day or two.

08-04-2002, 08:29 PM
I have a few on my neck. I had a big one that was bothering me so I got drunk got scissors and got rid of it. Even drunk it hurt like a mother and bled like a stuck pig.

08-04-2002, 09:40 PM
Originally posted by AHunter3
Toenail clippers.

You can close them a little at a time and let the site get "used to the squeeze" and then the last final crimp is not felt at all. Daub a bit of rubbing alcohol when you're done. Owie.

Do you slowly wade into cold water and pull off band aids at a glacial pace, too?


I get them very rarely and when I do they're quite small. I've found a lot of alcohol and a bit of boredom fixes them nicely.

And a band aid ;)

08-05-2002, 08:38 AM
So much for "Intelligent Design".

It seems the ones under the arm = no pain when cut,
while other areas can sting quite a bit.

Got one under my arm. I'm tempted to snip it.

08-08-2002, 05:30 PM
I have some in my armpits, and they've been getting sore and swollen. One was hanging by a thread, and I yanked it off. After that, I used an alcohol-washed set of fingernail clippers. There was a quick eek! moment, roughly the same as cutting off a hangnail. It wasn't as bad as squeezing an infected pimple. I've removed three, and a few more remain.

Nott to armpit: "What's with these tags? Am I for sale?"

08-08-2002, 07:53 PM
If the stalk is big enough they can bleed profusely when cut. My husband had to go to the doctors when his mother tore one off him and it would not stop bleeding.

If they are smaller than 2mm, I snip. Larger, I tie unless position or shape makes that awkward. I have had one removed by a doctor.

08-09-2002, 01:02 AM
I cut one off a couple of weeks ago. A biggie under my arm. I used sterilized scissors. It bled profusely at first and pretty good for the next two days. I had to cover with gauze because a band-aid got soaked too fast.

Sorry, TMI, but you asked.


Go alien
08-09-2002, 08:00 AM
IAMNSU (I am not squeemish, usually) but for some reason, reading this thread is making my skin crawl.

08-09-2002, 08:18 AM
I think I may have to have another crack at the one under my arm; it dried up into a little hard black nugget after a couple of days, but I've noticed that there's a couple of mm of stalk below the knot, so there's going to be a bit left.

08-09-2002, 08:30 AM
I don't like the idea of pulling them out... they have roots though, don't they - wouldn't one need this removed entirely to stop it growing back?

My nephew was born with one on his ear. He had it sliced out under local when he was about 1, and the root removed. The incision was sown up with one stitch, and there's no scar now (he's 5).

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