Inspecting a skin tag and mole for removal.

Do-it-yourself mole and skin tag removal: Is it safe?

Photo by CottonBro Studio @ Pixabay

Is DIY mole and skin tag removal safe? Medical advice says “no”.

Skin tags equally affect 50% of men and women.5 Skin tags are medically known as acrokhordon and usually appear in adulthood. However, skin tags now appear in infancy.5 Elevation in children with skin tags may be due to: Increased obesity in children; The connection is that skin tags are commonly found in people who live with:

  • obesity,
  • diabetic,
  • metabolic disorders,
  • or a family history of skin tags.5

Skin tags consist of loose collagen fibers and grow in thicker areas of the skin.3 Skin tags also appear in folds and with frequent contact with skin such as the armpit.5 The markings are usually 0.1 cm to 0.5 cm in size but can grow upwards of 1 cm to 2 cm.5

On the plus side, skin tags are harmless. However, they may become troublesome in jewelry or clothing.3 These harmless tags can be annoying, leading to a desire to remove them. Removal is possible but should only be done by a medical professional. In addition, it is necessary to visit a doctor or dermatologist when noticing skin tags, as they could be moles.

What is this mole?

Many develop moles before their 20s, and they are often just decorative, or uncomfortable for some. Since the appearance of a mole can be a nuisance, some are looking for quick ways to remove it. This need for a quick solution to the problem

There can be uncertainty If the mole is skin cancer (melanoma).. Because of this uncertainty, it is necessary to see a doctor. A suspicious mole needs a biopsy to determine if it is cancerous.4

Even if the mole is not a melanoma, there are risks in removing it yourself.4 An individual should see a physician or dermatologist to determine the best procedure for removal.

Mole and skin removal products

Experts urge against the use of mole and skin removal products.4 These products can lead to scarring, infection, and may even mask precancerous conditions.4 By masking precancerous lesions, it is difficult for doctors to detect skin cancer in some cases.4 Individuals should be aware of what they are buying over the counter (OTC) for mole and skin tag removal.

Despite positive claims, these products can cause harm.1 Even products labeled “natural” or “organic,” do not mean they are safe.6 In June of 2022, the FDA issued an advisory for over-the-counter and non-prescription products.4

risks of these products

As we age, we may gain unwanted new skin growths; However, this does not mean that it is safe to perform DIY removal. Currently, none of the over-the-counter mole and skin tag removal products have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, plus they may contain harmful ingredients.6 As of August 2022, sellers such as Amazon have been issued warnings from the FDA about the sale of these products.6

These products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or Health Canada for safety. Furthermore, health protection organizations advise customers not to purchase these products.6 These products can lead to permanent skin injury, and serious infection. In addition, using these products instead of seeking a professional can delay skin cancer diagnosis and treatment.6

Status review

One such product sold on Amazon is the “Ariella Mole Corrector Skin Tag Remover & Repair Lotion Kit”.5 This product claimed that it can be used for 7-10 days and can be used on any skin type.5 The product line also announced before and after customer photos on Amazon.5

Despite positive product claims and advertisements, which can easily be faked, there have been serious adverse events from product use. A 45-year-old woman presented to a clinic with multiple necrotic skin ulcers which means her skin has turned black due to tissue death.2,5

The physician-led treatment plan was aimed at reducing the formation of scars caused by ulcers and seeking scar removal with laser-based equipment.5 Fortunately, the “Ariella Mole and Skin Tag Remover” product is no longer available for sale on Amazon.5

conclusion

After reviewing medical conditions and advice about skin tags and mole removal, one should look into having these lesions removed by a doctor. The question of how to remove moles and skin tags does not support DIY methods. It is best to have a professional do the removal.

References

  1. Pandey A, Sonthalia S. Skin tags. (updated 2022 Aug 1). In: StatPearls.com [Internet]. Treasure Island (Florida): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK547724/
  1. Fisher ME, Hill MC, Hugh J. Necrotic sores after using an over-the-counter mole and skin tag removal product. cuties. 2022; 109 (2): E27-E28. doi: 10.12788/cutis.0483
  2. Murez, C. Mole and skin tag removal products can be harmful. WebMD. Updated June 20, 2022. Accessed November 22, 2022. https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/news/20220620/skin-tags-moles-products-promising-to-treat-them-can-do-real-harm
  1. Higuera V, Robinson D. Everything you need to know about skin tag removal. Healthline. Updated January 27, 2022. Accessed November 22, 2022. https://www.healthline.com/health/skin-tag-removal
  1. US Food and Drug Administration. Products marketed to remove moles and other skin lesions can cause injury and scarring. Food and Drug Administration. Updated August 10, 2022. Accessed November 22, 2022. https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/products-marketed-removing-moles-and-other-skin-lesions-can-cause-injuries-scarring
  1. Healthways Team. Removal of moles and skin tags. MyHealth.Alberta.ca. Updated November 15, 2021. Accessed November 22, 2022. https://myhealth.alberta.ca/Health/Pages/conditions.aspx?


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