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Skin Tags

Skin Tags are very common. They develop in areas of friction - such as on the neck, under the arms and in the groin.  Occasionally they grow on the eyelids or around the eye area, or under the bust or bra straps.

Skin Tags are harmless, but people request removal as they don't like their appearance.  Also, Skin Tags often catch on clothes, causing the Skin Tag to swell up and become itchy or painful. 

There are 2 main types of Skin Tag removal - Cryotherapy (Freezing) or Skin Surgery.  Cryotherapy is best for Skin Tags that are small and narrow (less than 3mm in length, and 1-2mm in width) or are flat on the skin. Cryotherapy can be used below or above the bony eye socket, but is not suitable for Skin Tags on the eyelids.  There is a small risk that cryotherapy could penetrate the thin eyelid skin and damage the underlying eye. 

Most small Skin Tags can be removed or reduced in size by Cryotherapy (Freezing).  The treatment involves having a very cold spray directed on to the Skin Tag, turning it into an ice-ball.  Cryotherapy stings and most people find it a bit uncomfortable.  It takes about 10 - 20 seconds to freeze a Skin Tag.


After cryotherapy, Skin Tags usually swell up and become red.  They may itch or hurt, and sometimes they blister or bleed.  The swelling may last for 1 - 2 weeks.  After this, the Skin Tag dries up, then falls off or gets smaller in size.  For most people the skin heals without scarring, but there is always a risk of developing a pale white patch (hypopigmentation) at the treated area.  Skin Tags may recur after treatment, especially in areas with lots of skin-to-skin friction.  Sometimes Skin Tags do not respond to treatment with cryotherapy, particularly with round or large Skin Tags. 


Although Cryotherapy is less likely to remove larger Skin Tags (greater than 3mm in length or 1-2mm in width), some people like to try it first, as it may avoid the need for Skin Surgery.  

Exclusions: Unfortunately, we do not recommend Cryotherapy for Skin Tags on the actual eyelids because of the small risk of damaging the eye. We also do not remove Skin Tags from intimate areas.

Please click on the links below to read the Patient Information Leaflet on Skin Tags:

New Zealand Academy of Dermatology

Please click on the link below to read the Patient Information Leaflet on Cryotherapy:

British Association of Dermatologists

Please click here to book an appointment and to see the Price List for Cryotherapy


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