Health Information and Tools > Patient Care Handouts >  Skin Tag Removal: Care Instructions
Facebook Tweet Share

Main Content

Skin Tag Removal: Care Instructions

Overview

Skin tags are small, soft pieces of skin that stick out on a stem. They are often the same colour as your skin. They often grow on the eyelids, neck, armpit, and groin. Skin tags are not moles and usually do not turn into cancer.

You are more likely to get skin tags if you are overweight. They also tend to run in families.

Skin tags may be removed if they bother you. Your doctor can remove an unwanted skin tag by simply cutting it off. However, new skin tags often form.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • If clothing irritates a skin tag, cover it with a bandage to prevent rubbing and bleeding.
  • If you have a skin tag removed, clean the area with soap and water two times a day unless your doctor gives you different instructions. Don't use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol, which can slow healing.
    • You may cover the wound with a thin layer of petroleum jelly, such as Vaseline, and a non-stick bandage.
  • Check all the skin on your body once a month for skin growths or other changes, such as colour and feel of the skin.
    • Stand in front of a full-length mirror. Look carefully at the front and back of your body. Then look at your right and left sides with your arms raised.
    • Bend your elbows and look carefully at your forearms, the back of your upper arms, and your palms.
    • Look at your feet, the soles of your feet, and the spaces between your toes.
    • Use a hand mirror to look at the back of your legs, the back of your neck, and your back, rear end (buttocks), and genital area. Part the hair on your head to look at your scalp.
  • If you see a change in a skin growth, contact your doctor or nurse call line. Look for:
    • A mole that bleeds.
    • A fast-growing mole.
    • A scaly or crusted growth on the skin.
    • A sore that will not heal.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have signs of infection such as:
    • Pain, warmth, or swelling in your skin.
    • Red streaks near a wound in your skin.
    • Pus coming from a wound in your skin.
    • A fever.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • You have an area of normal skin that suddenly changes in shape, size, or how it looks.
  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

Enter B457 in the search box to learn more about "Skin Tag Removal: Care Instructions".

Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.