Did you just try the famous DIY dental floss method to get rid of skin tags? But what’s this – it has been a week, and the skin tag is still not falling off!

You might be wondering how long to leave dental floss on a skin tag. Should you wait and let it stay tied for another few days or choose an alternative removal method? Well, the answer to this depends on certain factors.

In today’s post, we will discuss skin tag removal using dental floss in detail. We will talk about the proper way to tie dental floss, how long to leave it, different tied-off skin tag complications, and much more. So, let’s dive in!

Should You Remove Skin Tags?

Should You Remove Skin Tags

Skin tags are small lumps protruding from the skin. Also called acrochordon, a skin tag is benign and can occur anywhere on an individual’s body. Usually, it is found where the skin folds like the neck, eyelids, armpit, under breasts, and groin.

Most researchers suggest that skin tags form as a result of friction and excess cells. When your topmost skin layer produces extra cells, and these cells are constantly rubbed against each other, a skin tag forms.

The type of skin tag may vary from person to person. A skin tag may be round and fleshy, flat, skin-colored, or dark. It can be anywhere from a few mm to 5cm in size. Whatever type you have, it’s okay to remove it.

Since skin tags are benign, there is no harm caused by removing them. Most people don’t like the look of those big fleshy outgrowths on their bodies. So, they get them removed for aesthetic purposes.

How to Remove Skin Tags with Dental Floss?

The dental floss method is quite popular for removing skin tags yourself. It is cheap, easy, and safe. But you can only use it for round and fleshy skin tags that are attached to your skin by a narrow stalk.

If your skin tag is flat or has a thicker stalk, consider an over-the-counter solution or surgical methods (more on this later!).

Here is a step-by-step guide to removing skin tags with dental floss at home:

  1. Wash the skin tag and wipe it with an alcoholic swab. This will ensure your skin tag is clean and free from germs.
  2. Once it is dry, cut a long piece of dental floss. You can also substitute dental floss with a cotton thread or band.
  3. Wrap the dental floss around the skin tag tightly. You may need to use a tweezer to pull the skin tag away from the skin and find the narrow stalk underneath.
  4. Tie a knot so that the dental floss doesn’t loosen and slip.
  5. Leave it wrapped around the skin tag until it darkens, dries, and detaches itself.
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Once the skin tag falls off, clean the area with water and an alcoholic swab. You will notice that the patch (from where the skin tag has fallen off) will be a slightly different color than the rest of your skin. Don’t worry, and maintain good hygiene practices.

It will change its color and blend in with the skin in a few weeks or even a month. However, if you develop redness, irritation, or any other kind of problem, consult a professional immediately.

How Long to Leave Dental Floss on Skin Tag?

Ideally, you should leave the dental floss on the skin tag for up to 10 days. During this time, the blood supply to the skin tag will be cut off. This means it won’t receive any oxygen or nutrients to stay the way it is.

Its surface will begin to shrivel and darken. The skin tag will turn red, purple, and brown or black. It may also reduce in size.

All of these are signs that you have tied the skin tag properly. It should dry up completely and fall off within 15 days. However, if it doesn’t show any change or fall off even after two weeks, you should check the knot.

It’s possible that you didn’t wrap the dental floss or tie the knot tightly enough. This means there is still blood flowing to the skin tag, and it is not drying up.

Tied Off Skin Tag Complications

Tied Off Skin Tag Complications

In most cases, a skin tag can be removed with dental floss safely and painlessly. You won’t feel anything at all during the process. But, in rare circumstances, there can be serious complications like:

1. Irritation & Redness

Usually, a skin tag swells up after you wrap it with dental floss. This is nothing to worry about as the swelling will go away on its own. However, if this swelling is accompanied by skin irritation and redness, you have done something wrong.

Maybe there was a product applied to the skin, and you didn’t clean it properly. Or maybe you have tied the knot too tightly – causing the skin cells to break and redden.

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2. Infection

The dental floss method basically rots the skin tag. When the blood supply is limited, the benign cells of the skin tag are deprived of nutrients. They use up the remaining nutrients, which causes shriveling and shrinking.

Once everything is used up, the cells begin to die and rot. This leads to a change in color until the skin tag is brown or black. You may also notice a sour smell.

Although it sounds gross, the traditional technique is used to successfully remove skin tags worldwide. However, in certain cases, the rotting may trigger an infection.

3. Bleeding

This is very rare but not impossible. The tied-off skin tag may bleed if the dental floss was too tightly wrapped around the stalk. It may rupture the skin surface and cause bleeding.

But, if you are bleeding after the skin tag falls off, the stalk must have been thick. You may also feel a stinging sensation. It’s best to wipe the area with an antiseptic medical swab and visit an expert.

4. Misdiagnosis

The biggest complication is misdiagnosing something else as a skin tag. You might develop a skin outgrowth due to a virus, cancer, or an underlying condition of hormones and endocrine. If you cut an outgrowth that’s not a skin tag, there can be serious consequences.

For example, cutting off a skin cancer lump (melanoma) can speed up the spread of the disease. The remaining cancer cells will quickly multiply and make the condition worse.

So, it is always better to get the skin outgrowth examined by a board-certified dermatologist. They will not only identify it properly but also suggest the best treatment.

Are There Any Other Painless Methods?

Are There Any Other Painless Methods

Yes, there are several alternatives to removing a skin tag with dental floss. These methods are also effective and painless. In fact, they might be safer than DIY options.

1. Over-the-counter (OTC)

An over-the-counter product may come in the form of cream, serum, or tablets. Whatever the type is, its purpose will be the same; to remove the skin tag over time. The product may take days or weeks depending on the formulation.

But since not all products are suitable for everyone, we recommend getting an expert’s opinion on the best over-the-counter solutions.

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2. Surgical Procedures

If your skin tag has a thick stalk, you will have to opt for surgical procedures. The skin tag will be removed by cutting the stalk with a sharp tool or substance. Your dermatologist may apply topical anesthesia to prevent discomfort.

  • Excision – the use of a scalpel or surgical scissors to cut the skin tag.
  • Cryotherapy – the use of liquid nitrogen to freeze the skin tag for up to 10 days or until it falls off.
  • Electrocautery – the use of electric current to burn the skin tag. It is also called cauterization.

Please note nail clippers or a blade should never be used to remove skin tags at home. Your tools may carry germs that increase the risk of infection.

FAQs

How long does it take for the skin tag to fall off with cotton thread

1. How long does it take for the skin tag to fall off with cotton thread?

Cotton thread is an excellent substitute for dental floss. It should take the same amount of time (that is 10 to 15 days).

2. How tight should you tie dental floss on the skin tag?

Your skin tag should be tied tightly enough to stop the blood vessels. But if you feel discomfort or stinging due to the tightness, loosen the dental floss a bit. We don’t want to rupture our skin, which can trigger an infection.

3. How to remove skin tags in one night?

The only way to remove skin tags in one night is to choose excision or electrocautery. Your dermatologist will perform the procedure to get rid of the skin tag quickly and safely.

Summary

All in all, here’s how long to leave dental floss on skin tag:

  • Until the skin shrivels up
  • Until the skin darkens
  • Until the skin tags fall off

If your skin tag doesn’t fall within 15 days, you should tie the dental floss again. Make sure it is tight enough to restrict the blood flow to the tag.

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