Is it safe to get my skin tags removed at a beauty salon?

<span>Illustration: Edith Pritchett/The Guardian</span>
Illustration: Edith Pritchett/The Guardian

Unfortunately the NHS considers skin tags – which are small, soft, harmless growths that tend to develop where areas of skin rub together – as cosmetic, and therefore won’t remove them. But you should see your GP if you’re concerned: for example if they’ve changed in size or colour, or they bleed.

There isn’t a specific cause for their formation: they are associated with obesity and diabetes, but genetics and ageing also play a part and they can be more common during pregnancy. People with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) may also be more prone.

Related: Would infrared light therapy improve the elasticity of my south Asian skin?

I’ve scoured private clinics in London to gauge prices, and removal seems to cost between £125 and £200 for a single tag, with nationwide clinics such as Sk:n charging from £176 for the first removal, and less for subsequent tags. It’s definitely cost effective to have them all removed in a single consultancy, but perhaps only the ones that really bother you. And yes, they should be removed by a medical professional to avoid the risk of infection. There are home kits, including one by Scholl, but they have had mixed reviews.

To reduce the risk of the skin tags coming back after removal, you could look at where they’re forming and what could be rubbing in that area. As you said in your email, the tags are under a breast and in the outer corner of an eyelid – so perhaps replace underwired bras with softer ones or ensure they’re the right size. An anti-chafe product like Megababe can help in areas where skin rubs against skin, such as the thighs. Likewise, addressing anything that could be causing you to rub your eyes excessively – like allergies or rough makeup removal – is crucial.

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