Have you noticed small growths on your eyelids? While there are multiple types of skin growths, a common benign growth on eyelids are skin tags. These small bumps are not dangerous, but they may be uncomfortable or cause cosmetic concern. If you are concerned about skin tags on eyelids, learn about what causes these growths and the treatments available for removal.
What Are Skin Tags?
Skin tags are flesh-colored growths on the skin that are common where skin folds. You can find skin tags in areas where skin may rub together like the armpit, under breasts or the genital area, as well as on the eyelids. A skin tag has a stalk that supports the excess cells made from collagen. Most skin tags are very small, only half or less the size of a pencil eraser.
Over 25% of the population has skin tags. They are more common in older adults, especially on the eyelids. The growths do not cause pain, but they may be uncomfortable in certain areas on the body if they rub against clothing. On the eyelids, skin tags can be distracting cosmetically or may interfere with vision if they are located on the edges of the eyelid.
Skin Tags on Eyelids: Causes
There is no known cause for skin tags. While skin tags are more likely in areas of skin that rub together, it is not known why they develop. There are people that are at higher risk for skin tags on eyelids and other areas of the body. Some risk factors for skin tags include:
- Female – women are more likely to have skin tags than men
For many people, skin tags can suddenly appear for no apparent reason. There does seem to be a correlation to genetics – if your parents or grandparents had skin tags as they got older, you are more likely to develop them as well. If you are concerned about skin tags on eyelids, there are options for treatment and removal.
How to Remove Skin Tags on Eyelids
If you have one or more skin tags on your eyelids that are bothering your vision or impacting your appearance, there are treatment options. It is possible for a skin tag to go away on its own if the stalk is twisted and cuts off the blood supply to the skin tag, but many can last a lifetime. Removing skin tags can be performed a few different ways.
- Home Skin Tag Treatments
- There are a few at-home treatments that have been used for skin tags, but most are not reliable. One treatment is using apple cider vinegar on the skin tag, but there is no evidence that this is an effective treatment. There are over-the-counter skin tag treatments that claim to remove the small growths. These include patches, removal bands and creams. While some may remove a skin tag, it may not be permanent. Skin tags can grow back if the stalk is not completely removed.
- Skin tags on eyelids are more difficult to remove, as the skin is more sensitive and you want to avoid damage to your eye function. Removing skin tags from eyelids should be left to a medical professional to avoid irritating the delicate skin on the eyelid or affecting vision or eyelid function.
- Freezing off a skin tag on the eyelid is a viable treatment. A dermatologist or plastic surgeon can perform this treatment, as well as other doctors. Liquid nitrogen is carefully placed on the skin tag to “freeze” the skin cells and remove the growth. This is like the treatment used to remove warts and other skin growths.
- Liquid nitrogen will kill the excess skin cells on the skin tag and the growth will fall off in about a week. There will be a blister or sore on the skin that will scab and heal over a few weeks.
- Surgical Removal
- Skin tags on eyelids can be removed with an incision with a scalpel or medical scissors. A doctor can numb the area and surgically remove a skin tag by cutting off the growth. Electrosurgery can also be used, which uses heat to “burn” the skin tag off and also cauterizes the skin to prevent bleeding.
- Cutting off the blood supply to a skin tag can be effective in removing the growth. Litigation involves tying a ligature around the bottom of the skin tag stalk to remove the growth. The skin tag will fall off in several days after a doctor performs litigation.
If you have a skin tag on an eyelid you want removed, the best option is to visit a medical professional for removal. There are safe treatments for skin tags on eyelids that can permanently remove these growths. Talk to a dermatologist or plastic surgeon that offers medical treatment for skin tags to learn more.