How to Safely Deal With Skin Tags, According to Dermatologists

How to Safely Deal With Skin Tags, According to Dermatologists

Skin tags are like the fruit flies of skin problems—they’re pesky, but save for rare instances, they’re benign. There’s not much we can do to avoid them, and they’re not even necessary to remove, but no one could blame you for wanting to either. Skin tags–or if you want to get really fancy, fibroepithelial polyps or acrochordons—are what New York City-based board-certified dermatologist Dr. Roy Seidenberg calls "cosmetic nuisances." Essentially, he explains, they are "just little extra pieces of skin that pouch out, often in clusters." To further understand this condition, what causes them, who gets them, and of course, how to get rid of them, we spoke to the professionals.

As mentioned, skin tags are benign skin growths, most commonly found in areas where the skin folds, or where there is friction such as the neck, underarms, under the breasts, groin, and eyelids. "Most are pedunculated, meaning that they flip-flop around on a small base," Seidenberg says. 

Who Gets Skin Tags?

Though skin tags can occur in just about anyone (men, women, or children), they most typically "occur in middle-aged individuals, can run in families, and can appear or increase in number during pregnancy and in diabetics," explains New York City-based board-certified dermatologist Dr. Nadia Kihiczak. Weight gain and obesity are also linked to an increase in skin tags, and they are also more common in lighter skin, Seidenberg notes. 

Skin tags are genetically determined, so unfortunately, not really. “Minimizing friction can help for some, especially in avid runners or those who engage in repetitive friction-inducing behavior,” explains New York City-based board-certified dermatologist Dr. Dendy Engelman, who also notes that sometimes not wearing jewelry (like necklaces) can also help decrease friction. 

As much as you might want to get rid of skin tags ASAP, dermatologists urge you not to do so on your own at home. “I do not recommend attempting to remove skin tags at home. Not only can this be painful, but it can lead to potential infections and can cause significant bleeding that may be difficult to stop at home by yourself,” says NYC-based dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner . 

How to Get Rid of Skin Tags

Make an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist to discuss getting skin tags removed. There are a number of ways dermatologists remove skin tags in their offices, and they use their expertise to determine which one is best suited for your case. "The size of the lesion and the skin type determine the treatment of choice," Kihiczak notes.

"Removal is best performed by cutting or snipping them off with a scalpel or fine scissor,” explains Seidenberg. Adds Kihiczak, "When snip removal is performed, the lesion is cut at the base with sterile scissors resulting in complete immediate removal at the time of treatment." If the skin tag is larger in size, the dermatologist will use topical or injected anesthesia. Smaller skin tags removed in this way usually don’t scar. Removal via burning with an electric needle, or freezing off is, he explains, more likely to leave a scar or a light or dark spot. 

"Removal is generally considered cosmetic, unless it ‘got twisted’ and became red or black,” says Seidenberg, noting that occasionally, "a dermatologist will send one to the laboratory for pathology" to ensure it isn't cancerous.

The Final Takeaway

While the appearance of skin tags my bother you, their existence isn't threatening to your health and does not require immediate attention, unless its pathology has deemed it pre-cancerous or cancerous. Just remember to not take matters into your own hands and leave the removal entirely to a physician, or else you could be left with an even more unsightly mark on your skin, or worse, an infection.


January 25, 2021 — The Wellery
Here's Why Certain Alcohol Makes Your Face Feel Weird

Here's Why Certain Alcohol Makes Your Face Feel Weird

It was somewhere around my third year of college when I began to develop a taste for wine as opposed to, say, marshmallow-flavored vodka. It was also around this time I started to notice my face sometimes felt weird after drinking certain types of alcohol. After a glass or two of red wine, in particular, my face would suddenly become bright red—an annoying detail, sure, but the real annoyance was just how hot it felt after drinking. Sometimes, this was accompanied by a slightly stuffy nose, too. 


This affects 20-50% of individuals of East Asian Descent. 


Dr. Engelman also shares the key to getting to the bottom of what’s causing your flushing is often as simple as keeping track of which drinks trigger reactions. Dr. Olulade echoes this advice, explaining that different alcohols contain different ingredients, which could be more flush-inducing than others.

The key to getting to the bottom of what’s causing your flushing is often as simple as keeping track of which drinks trigger reactions.

The Drinks

"For example, red wine contains more tannins than white wine, and if someone is allergic (more serious and happens much quicker) or intolerant/sensitive to this, then it can cause them to have flushing,” Olulade says. "Some wines also have more sulfites than others, and this can also create flushing. However, sulfites are naturally present in many things that we consume, including food, so their effects may be overestimated." Flushing could also occur for other types of intolerances, like those who have gluten intolerance and experience flushing while drinking beer. 

Your Skin

Another thing to consider if you experience flushing is the possibility of rosacea, Dr. Olulade says.  “Rosacea is a chronic inflammatory skin disorder that can cause facial redness from enlarged blood vessels on the face, especially in the cheeks. Red wine has long been known to trigger flare-ups of rosacea because it causes an enlargement (dilation) of the blood vessels,” Dr. Olulade explains. “However, a study published in the American Journal of Dermatology in April of 2017 showed that white wine could also trigger a flare-up of this condition.”

As Dr. Warren explains, flushing caused by rosacea is particularly hard to treat and common in people who are fair-skinned with a northern European background. "Those affected may suffer from persistent Centro facial redness with the tendency to blush or flush easily and severely," Dr. Warren says. "Other symptoms may include a burning or itching sensation, dryness, swelling, and increased skin sensitivity."

The Bottom Line

Dr. Warren suggests avoiding spicy foods, and extra hot showers as these can also trigger similar looking and feeling rosacea flare-ups. "Avoidance of known triggers, including alcohol, is really the key, and can be difficult," Dr. Warren explains.  

After speaking to three experts, it seems like rosacea could very well be the culprit to my weird, sporadic symptoms when drinking alcohol. The next step? Dr. Olulade recommends seeing a doctor. "If you get flushing after drinking alcohol, it’s important to let your doctor know because it may be a sign of an underlying allergy or insensitivity, and it may be because it is making rosacea worse," Dr. Olulade explains. "We can talk to you about possible testing for this and also guide you about how to avoid getting this response."

Original Post:

January 25, 2021 — The Wellery
How To Tell the Difference Between Stress Acne and All Other Breakouts

How To Tell the Difference Between Stress Acne and All Other Breakouts

In this world, nothing is certain but death and taxes… and breakouts. We’ve all dealt with a blemish at least once in our lives, and I would bet my life savings that the majority of adults reading this article will experience at least one more before the month is over. They can suck, but they’re just a normal part of having skin—which, you know, is something you generally want to have, particularly on your face. But, as an adult, there are times when acne breakouts can indicate a bigger issue, past the general explanation of clogged pores. 


Donna Hart, MD, is a medical, surgical, and cosmetic dermatologist. Hart is published in several medical journals, is board-certified by the American Board of Dermatology, and is a member of the American Academy of Dermatology, American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, and Women’s Dermatologic Society.

Hormones also play a similar role, but according to Hart, the difference is timing. If you find you mostly get breakouts around your period, it’s likely your acne is related to hormones rather than stress.2 "Hormonal changes, mainly increased androgen levels, have the same affects on oil glands,” Hart says. "The main way to tell the difference is to track acne triggers, for example, after a period of stress versus more regularly with monthly menstrual cycles."

What Causes Stress Acne

what causes stress acne

First things first: What causes stress acne? Stress, of course, but it's a little bit deeper than that. According to a 2017 research review in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology titled Emerging Issues in Adult Female Acne, a self-administered, dermatologist-validated questionnaire of 3305 women ages 25 to 40 years in France, researchers found "adult onset acne was reported by 41 percent of women," and, "stress was listed as a precipitating factor for acne in half of the women surveyed."3


Dr. Michele S. Green is a board-certified dermatologist with an MD from Mount Sinai Medical School in NYC. Green worked for global skin care brands, L'Oréal, Johnson and Johnson, Bioré, and RoC on the research, development, and safety testing of worldwide product launches. She has published articles in professional journals including The Journal of American Academy of Dermatology and Cosmetic Dermatology.

Where Stress Acne Is Located

hormonal acne

This can vary. If you find you’re normally breaking out in the same place around the same time of month—i.e., your chin or jawline—you can bet that your acne is likely related to your menstrual cycle rather than your stress levels. This is especially true if the acne takes on the form of painful cysts: According to Dr. Green, these "usually appear in the same spot over and over again and become severely chronic because they’ve accumulated so much oil over a span of days or even weeks."

But stress acne, as opposed to other types of breakouts, will usually appear in the oiliest areas of your face. "[Stress] pimples or acne lesions typically appear on the T-zone," Dr. Vaidian shares. “When this is the case, the acne is usually accompanied by dilated pores, shininess, blackheads, whiteheads, and uneven or grainy skin.” Regular acne, on the other hand, will not appear with these accompanying symptoms. Similarly, Dr. Green says that stress acne is often accompanied by telltale signs like redness and itchiness."

What To Do About Stress Acne

stress and hormonal acne

“If you work with your skin, the results will be there one step at a time,” Dr. Green says. For treatment options, she recommends “a topical spot treatment, something like salicylic acid which can be found over-the-counter.” If it’s something deeper—a stress “cyst,” something under-the-skin, perhaps—"just hold a warm or cold compress over the affected area to decrease the pain and/or redness.” This should be done for a few minutes twice a day until the spot is minimized.

“If stress acne seems to happen often, then try switching your skincare routine. Find products that work with your skin, not against it,” Dr. Green recommends. Dr. Vaidian also suggests taking care to ensure your stress levels are managed as well. “Drink plenty of fluids, eat a healthy diet and do things to manage your stress such as get more sleep and do things to relax,” she says.

If you suspect that your acne may be due to stress or hormonal-related reasons, talk to your dermatologist about your immediate skincare options to help speed up your recovery.  

Original Article:

January 25, 2021 — The Wellery