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Skin Specialist Dr. Sirisha Singh of Theskincentre in Delhi often encounter people who complain that they have warts on the sides of their neck. Although one could have warts in that area, the common problem in this area is skin tags. Skin tags are extra bags of skin that herniate out of the skin. It happens as a function of increasing age but is very common in people at a high risk of diabetes. If one has several skin tags or skin tags at a very young age, they should have an annual fasting blood glucose test. A traditional method of treating skin tags was to tightly tie a strand of hair at the base of the tag. This cuts off the blood supply to the tag and it falls off in a few days.
Warts are lumps on the surface of the skin that happens due to a virus infection of the skin says Dermatologist and Skin Specialist Dr. Sirisha Singh. The virus causes the skin cells to grow out and form lumps. This virus is ubiquitous, that is it is present everywhere and infections are very common. Many of us harbour the virus in the skin for several months before developing the warts. Hence eliminating the virus from the system is also a challenge as the virus may be present in seemingly normal skin.
So, what can one do about skin tags once they have developed them? There are many options to get rid of the skin tags.
1. Chemical Cautery: A medical grade acid like Tri-chloro-acetic acid is touched on the surface of the tags. This can work especially in small sized warts. It causes a mild stinging sensation for about 15-20 mins. The tags become very hard for about a week and then fall off. They do not leave any scars.
2. Electrocautery: Radiofrequency energy is used to destroy the extra skin tissue. The procedure is done under a numbing gel if the tags are very small. In case of bigger tags, an injection may be given just below the tag to numb the area of the tag. The process is painless and leaves no scar. The tissue heals completely in under 2 weeks.
3. LASER: Carbon dioxide LASER energy is used to vaporize the extra fold of skin. The process can be done under a local numbing gel or a numbing injection just below the skin tag. The process is painless and heals with no scarring.
4. CRYOTHERAPY: The skin tag can be frozen with liquid nitrogen. The tag is sprayed with liquid nitrogen. It feels like touching ice on the skin, there is a slight sting for about 10 minutes and then it settles down. The skin tag feels very hard for about 2 weeks and then falls down. When targeted carefully, it is a safe procedure but if done on tags which are very tiny, the liquid nitrogen also touches the surrounding normal skin and can lead to a small area of skin discolouration.
Apart from chemical cautery, the other 3 procedures mentioned above can also be used for the treatment of warts. Warts can sometimes be very resistant to treatment and may sometimes need multiple cycles of treatment for complete healing.
There are chances of the tags or warts recurring in the same area. Skin tags usually take a few years to develop. Warts may develop earlier. In people with multiple or extensive warts, homeopathy may also be effective and advise may be sought from a qualified homeopath says Skin specialist in Delhi Dr. Sirisha Singh.