Can Skin Tags Be Removed During Pregnancy?

Pregnancy brings joy along with many changes to a woman’s body. As the baby grows, the increase in hormones can lead to skin changes like stretch marks, melasma, and skin tags. Skin tags during pregnancy are small, soft growths that appear on the neck, armpits, under the breasts, and groin area. 

While considering cosmetic procedures during pregnancy, many wonder, ‘Can skin tags be removed during pregnancy?’ This question is particularly pertinent for those experiencing skin changes due to hormonal shifts. This discussion aims to explore the safety and timing of skin tag removal in the context of pregnancy.

What Causes Skin Tags During Pregnancy?

Skin tags occur due to the rapid increase in hormones like estrogen and progesterone. These hormones overstimulate skin cell growth, leading to harmless extra tissue forming skin tags. Areas prone to folds and friction are more likely to develop them.

While annoying, skin tags pose no risk to the mother or baby. They may bleed or itch when irritated by clothing or jewellery. Skin tags often disappear on their own after delivery as hormones stabilise. However, some persist postpartum.

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Are Skin Tags Harmful During Pregnancy?

Skin tags during pregnancy cause no health issues for the mother or fetus. They mainly lead to irritation or discomfort from friction with clothing. Bleeding is rare but can occur if the tag gets very irritated.

Some women experience emotional distress from skin changes during pregnancy. Discussing feelings with your doctor can help ease anxiety. Focusing on the joy of motherhood also helps perspective.

Can Skin Tags Be Safely Removed While Pregnant?

The safest approach is leaving skin tags alone until after delivering your baby. However, several removal methods are considered low-risk during pregnancy:

Cryotherapy

Freezing skin tags with liquid nitrogen is an option. However, tissue could be more sensitive and react strongly while pregnant. It’s not ideal for tags near delicate areas.

Hyfrecation

Using heat through electrical currents can cauterise a skin tag’s base safely. Like freezing, it may have increased sensitivity issues during pregnancy.

Scissor Excision

Cutting off skin tags with sterile surgical scissors is an option. It carries a bleeding or infection risk and pain without anaesthesia. Not ideal during pregnancy.

Laser Removal

Laser removal uses focused light beams to destroy skin tags. Lasers are not tested as safe during pregnancy. The effects on the fetus are unknown. Best to avoid.

Medicated Creams

Creams with apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil, or banana peel extract may help remove skin tags. Limited evidence shows it’s safe for pregnancy.

Are There Any Risks To Removing Skin Tags While Pregnant?

The hormones of pregnancy make skin more sensitive and prone to infection. This increases the risks linked to removing skin tags while pregnant:

  • Bleeding: All removal methods can cause bleeding or spotting.
  • Infection: Breaks in the skin increase infection risk from bacteria entering. This may harm mom and baby.
  • Scarring: Aggressive removal can cause scarring or discolouration of skin tissue. Changes may become permanent.
  • Pain/Discomfort: Removal without anaesthesia is often uncomfortable or outright painful.
  • Unknown complications: Effects of procedures and anaesthesia drugs on the developing baby remain unclear. There may be unforeseen risks.

While rare, complications may negatively impact the remaining pregnancy or delivery. Discuss all benefits and risks thoroughly with your obstetrician first.

When Is the Best Time To Remove Skin Tags?

Determining the ideal timing in pregnancy for safe, effective skin tag removal requires balancing the conflicting risks and stable hormones of each trimester.

TrimesterWeeksBenefitsRisks
First Trimester1-13 weeksLower risk of losing pregnancyRapidly changing hormones.
Greater sensitivity.
Higher bleeding risk.
Second Trimester14-26 weeksHormones plateau  Uterus protected in pelvisStill some procedure risks.
Third Trimester27-40 weeksCan resolve tags after deliveryFast fetal/belly growth.
Difficult to reach tags.
Approaching labour/delivery.
Blood flow priorities on the baby.

This table outlines the different trimesters of pregnancy, the corresponding weeks, and the unique benefits and risks of considering skin tag removal during each time period. The changing hormone levels, uterus size, fetal development rates and upcoming labour and delivery timing all impact the procedure rationale and health tradeoffs. Use the table to help determine the optimal timing for removal while pregnant with your obstetrician.

Pros and Cons of Common Skin Tag Removal Methods During Pregnancy

Understanding the pros and cons of common skin tag removal methods during pregnancy is crucial for safe and effective treatment.

Removal MethodProsCons
CryotherapyNo anaesthesia is needed. Low risk of scarring.It can be painful. Increased skin sensitivity while pregnant.
HyfrecationMinimal scarring. Usually no need for stitches.Risk of pain and skin sensitivity. Chance of infection.
Scissor ExcisionNo chemicals were used. Removes the entire tag in one cut.Painful without anaesthesia. High bleeding risk. Needs steri-strips or stitches.
Laser RemovalPrecise ability to target skin tags only.Not approved as safe for pregnancy. Risks to the fetus are unknown.
Medicated CreamsLow risk and non-invasive. Multiple applications.It can take weeks. It is less effective on larger or raised tags.

This table outlines the pros and cons of some common medical and natural methods used to remove skin tags during pregnancy. It allows easy comparison between the different options to make an informed decision with your doctor.

5 Key Takeaways: Removing Skin Tags During Pregnancy

  • Skin tags are harmless but can irritate—most resolve after giving birth.
  • Changes in pregnancy hormones cause extra skin tissue growth.
  • The 2nd trimester has the lowest risks for removal procedures.
  • All removal methods may lead to bleeding, scarring or infections.
  • Discuss removal benefits and risks thoroughly with your obstetrician first.

In conclusion, addressing ‘Can skin tags be removed during pregnancy’ requires careful consideration of the timing and method of removal. Consulting with a healthcare professional is essential to ensure both the safety of the mother and the unborn child and to determine the best approach for skin tag treatment during pregnancy.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, but only if it continually snags on clothing and bleeds despite taping over it. Removal prevents the risk of infection from an open wound.

Many skin tags shrink and disappear a few months after giving birth without intervention as hormones regulate. But some tags persist long-term.

If they snag and bleed continually, causing discomfort, removal may be covered. But cosmetic removal solely for appearance is unlikely to qualify.

Yes. With hormones starting to stabilise, skin tag removal procedures pose fewer risks postpartum. The key is allowing time to heal from delivery first.

Yes, even decades later. Hormonal shifts of pregnancy forever change the collagen structure beneath the skin. This raises the ongoing risk of extra skin cell clusters forming tags appearing later.