How to Care for a Skin Tag on Your Eyelid

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Acrochordons, also known as skin tags, are common, harmless skin growths that are usually the same color as your skin. Skin tags look like a cluster of normal tissues extending out from a narrow stalk.

Skin tags typically range in size from 1 millimeter (roughly the size of a tip of a pen) to 5 millimeters, but some can be larger. They are often found in skin folds or creases, including those of the eyelid.

Although skin tags rarely cause major health problems—and sometimes disappear on their own—they can cause irritation and obscure vision if they develop on an eyelid. In such cases, skin tag removal may be needed.

DermNet NZ


This article explains why skin tags occur and why treatment may be needed if they occur on the eyelids. It also describes the different ways that skin tags are removed and the possible risks of treatment.

Why Skin Tags Appear on Eyelids

Skin tags can develop on many parts of the body but are especially common in folds of skin or areas of the skin that frequently rub together.

The exact cause of skin tags is unknown. They most commonly affect people over 40 as well as those with obesity, high cholesterol, or diabetes. People who are pregnant are more prone to skin tags due to hormonal changes, but they usually disappear sometime after birth.

Common sites for skin tags include:

  • Under the breasts
  • Under the arms
  • In the groin
  • In neck folds
  • Around the anus or genitals
  • On the eyelids

Skin tags don’t necessarily have to be removed, but they can be uncomfortable or unsightly.

Recap

Skin tags commonly develop in folds of skin or areas where the skin rubs together frequently. People over 40 and those with obesity, high cholesterol, or diabetes are at greater risk.

Complications

Skin tags on the eyelids are usually mild and do not affect either vision or eye health. But there are instances where they can become problematic and require treatment

Reasons include:

  • Obstruction of vision, particularly those situated on the edge of an eyelid
  • Irritation, which can feel as if there’s a grain or seed in the fold of an eyelid every time you blink
  • Inability to fully shut the eyelid
  • Pain, redness, or swelling, especially if the skin tag is regularly scratched or irritated by harsh skincare products
  • Cosmetic reasons

Recap

Skin tags on the eyelids are usually harmless but may need to be removed if they obscure vision, cause irritation, or prevent the eyelid from shutting completely. They may also be removed for cosmetic reasons.

Removing Skin Tags From Eyelids

While there are home remedies commonly used to remove skin tags, self-removal is not recommended, particularly for those on the eyelid. This is because the skin of the eyelid is delicate, sensitive, and prone to bleeding, scarring, and infection.

A better solution is to see a skin specialist, known as a dermatologist. There are several techniques dermatologists may use to remove a skin tag:

  • Ligation: For this procedure, the base of a skin tag is tied off with an elastic band to cut off blood flow. The skin tag will then harden and fall off within a few weeks.
  • Cryotherapy: This involves the application of liquid nitrogen to freeze and damage the excess skin growth. The dead skin tag will then darken and fall off within a week or two.
  • Electrocautery: For this procedure, the skin tag is burned at the base with an electrical probe. Electrocautery can be used on its own for smaller skin tags.
  • Surgery: This may be a better option for larger skin tags. After numbing the skin, the tag is cut off at the base with surgical scissors or a scalpel. Electrocautery may be used to stem the bleeding.

Recap

Skin tags can be removed by freezing them (cryotherapy), burning them with electricity (electrocautery), or tying them off until the excess tissues die and fall off (ligation). Larger skin tags can be removed with surgery.

Risks and Side Effects

After a skin tag is removed, the area may be painful and red. The pain will usually resolve within a few hours or a day. If the pain is significant, you can use Tylenol (acetaminophen) as prescribed.

The biggest concern following skin tag removal is the risk of infection. To avoid this, you will be advised not to touch the skin until it is amply healed. A bandage or eye patch may be used to protect the treated area. Follow your doctor’s care instructions to keep the skin clean and free of infection.

Even if there is no infection, the procedure can leave a visible scar. The scar may be red at first but will usually lighten over time to a normal flesh color.

If an infection occurs, it can cause significant, irreversible damage to the eye. See your doctor without delay if you experience high fever, chills, increasing pain and redness, changes in vision, a pus-like discharge, or any other signs of infection.

Recap

Possible side effects of a skin removal tag removal include pain, scarring, and infection. Follow your doctor’s care instructions to avoid infection and other complications.

Summary

Skin tags (acrochordons) are harmless skin growths that typically occur in skin folds or areas where the skin rubs together frequently. The cause of skin tags is unknown but is more common in people over 40. Diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, and pregnancy are other risk factors.

Skin tags usually do not need treatment but may be removed if they are unsightly or obscure vision. Dermatologists can remove skin tags with ligation (using elastic bands to cut off the blood flow), cryotherapy (using extreme cold), or electrocautery (using electricity to burn tissues). Surgery may also be used.

Skin tag removals may cause pain, scarring, or infection. Follow your healthcare provider’s care instructions to avoid complications. Self-removal of skin tags is not recommended.

A Word From Verywell

There are numerous products used to self-treat skin tags, including over-the-counter products containing salicylic acid or ta tree oil. Other people recommend the daily application of apple cider vinegar. As a general rule, these should be avoided as they can cause skin irritation, and there is no guarantee they will work.

When it comes to skin tags on the eyelids, never use these or any other self-care remedy. The risks are far too great. Only a healthcare provider, ideally a dermatologist, should ever treat a skin tag on the eyelid.



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