Skin Tags on the Belly Button – Things to Know before Removal
Dr. Angel Rivera
Skin tags on the belly button are not uncommon. They regularly show up during pregnancy and when you’ve had your belly button pierced. If you’re currently pregnant, hormonal fluctuations and fast weight gain are likely to be the underlying cause of acrochordons (the medical term for this skin condition). And piercings cause friction, a well-known cause of skin tags.
They are small growths that are 2 to 5 mm in diameter. Some are larger but not bigger than 1 cm to 2 cm. Larger skin tags are less common, and it is desirable to have those removed by a dermatologist. Self-removal could cause bleeding or scarring.
Some women have skin tags inside the belly button, which aren’t visible to the naked eye. You can only feel them or see them upon closer inspection. They become prominent when a woman is pregnant, and the belly expands. This can cause them to emerge.
Provided that they’re correctly diagnosed, skin tags are harmless. They are benign tumors that don’t pose a risk to your health. But we will now take a closer look at ‘possible’ warning signs that you may have a malignant skin condition.
If something does appear suspect, a doctor may perform a biopsy to check that they’re non-malignant. Once you’re sure that everything is normal and they aren’t a sign of a melanoma, you can explore some of the better OTC removal options.
Skin tags will only be considered dangerous if there are some unusual symptoms. You may notice that your skin tags are changing color. Typically, they are the same color of your skin or slightly darkened shade of brown.
It is normal for skin tags to become darker than the skin tone. When they become very dark or turn black, it is usually a sign that they will fall off. However, when skin tags change from one color to another, and this becomes a frequent phenomenon, then seek medical intervention.
Although rare, they may appear to be pink or red, brown or black and then change colors without any distinct pattern or frequency. Such skin tags are indicative of some other underlying skin condition. While ‘normal’ skin tags are known as acrochordons, a severe outbreak is known as acanthosis nigricans. It’s advisable to have a thorough health check-up if this applies to you.
Skin tags are benign tumors and pose no threat. But, ones that bleed grow unusually large or cause pain will need to be diagnosed by a dermatologist. This is to make sure that they aren’t pre-cancerous or cancerous. In 99.5% of cases, there won’t be a problem.
If you’ve had your belly button pierced, you may be surprised to discover that a skin tag has formed nearby. One of the primary causes of skin tags is friction.
This could be because skin rubs against skin, or jewelry (including piercings) rub against the skin. While the theory isn’t 100% proven, there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence to suggest that this is likely to be the case.
A skin tag caused by a piercing won’t go away on its own. You need to remove the piercing and allow the area to heal first. When it’s fully healed, and there’s no infection, you can get the skin tag removed at home with an over-the-counter (OTC) treatment.
If you feel nervous or anxious about pregnancy skin tags, you should consult a dermatologist. They can remove skin tags, but may only be prepared to do so after you’ve given birth. Preferably, you should wait until after your breastfeeding period has ended.
Skin tags that are caused by pregnancy sometimes go away on their own, but not always. Unless they’re a source of irritation or infection, it’s worth waiting to find out if this happens. This doesn’t occur if they occur due to any other reason.
If you’ve got a skin tag that’s due to friction or weight gain, skin tag removal won’t be a problem. The primary challenge will be choosing the treatment option that’s right for you. This will be based on how quickly you want to get rid of skin tags and your level of pain tolerance.
Doctors will use traditional removal methods, like cauterization. There are now state-of-the-art chemical cauterization and electrical cauterization treatments available. Dermatologists also use laser removal, surgery, freeze off, and tie off skin tags.
You will have to pay extra to get treatment from a doctor, and your health insurance won’t cover the costs. The exception to the rule is where your skin tags are infected, or there are concerns that you may have a different medical condition.
There are many self-removal techniques, but you need to be aware that you are treating a sensitive area of the body. Cutting off or burning off skin tags at home is not recommended on the belly button because it carries a significantly higher risk.
Australian Tea Tree Oil
If you want a natural treatment for removing skin tags, Apothecary tea tree oil is an excellent option. Just use a q-tip to apply tea tree oil to the skin tag and stalk (peduncle). The process should be repeated three times a day (morning, afternoon, and before you go to bed). It’s not a fast-acting formula, but most people find that their skin tags drop off after about 3 to 6 weeks.
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Dealing with an Infected Skin Tag
If you have a skin tag infection, make sure that this is cleared up first. Failure to do so will cause pain and lead to new problems. Your doctor will prescribe a cream that will quickly clear up an infection or any irritation.