By Kevin C. Smith MD FACP FRCPC
As time goes on, we all acquire tiny bits of extra skin called skin tags. These can range in size from 1-10 mm, and are flesh colored or brown. Skin tags can be found on any part of the body, but are most common on the eyelids and neck, and in the armpits and groin, and under the breasts.While skin tags are benign they can be annoying if they become irritating or rub on sporting equipment, and skin tags can interfere with shaving and can detract from one’s appearance and self-image.
Fortunately, we don’t have to put up with skin tags. These little annoyances can be easily removed in an office visit with little or no discomfort. Skin tags can almost always be removed without needing stitches, and the treated areas usually have healed completely in a week or two. The cost of removing skin tags is quite reasonable – ranging from about $80 for a few tiny ones to about $200 for a larger number scattered over several areas.
Seborrheic keratoses are firm flat or raised, sometimes scaly or crusty flesh-colored, brown or black “barnacles” which accumulate (usually on the face and trunk) as time goes on. Some people start to develop seborrheic keratoses in their thirties, and most people have at least a few by the time they are sixty. To look at pictures of different types of moles, click on www.SkinCancerGuide.ca .
Seborrheic keratoses are usually just a nuisance, but – like skin tags — they can rub on clothing and equipment, and their appearance can sometimes be so distressing that they interfere with choice of clothing, sports like swimming, and intimacy.
Because seborrheic keratoses grow above the skin (but not down into the skin) they can be easily scraped off, and the treated areas heal up nicely within a few weeks. Sometimes the healed area remains pink for a few months after the seborrheic keratosis is removed. The cost of removing seborrheic keratoses is similar to that for removal of skin tags: about $80 for one or two, with the cost gradually increasing depending on the number and size of seborrheic keratoses to be removed.
The cost of removing skin tags and seborrheic keratoses is a tax-deductible medical expense, just like things like dental bills. So, if you are annoyed by skin tags or seborrheic keratoses you can be confident that it is simple and inexpensive to rid yourself of these nuisances.