How to Care for a Skin Tag on Your Eyelid

Skin tags, also known as acrochordons, are harmless growths that are made up of proteins and skin. They are usually flesh-colored, and can range in size from 1 mm to 1 cm in diameter. Typically found in skin folds or creases, which are generally areas of high friction, skin tags usually hang from the body by a tiny stalk. They rarely result in major health problems and may disappear on their own. However, sometimes skin tags that form on the eyelids can cause irritation or obscure vision, and you may want to have them removed.

Read on to learn more about skin tags and what to do if you develop one on your eyelid.

skin tag

DermNet NZ

Why Skin Tags Appear on Eyelids

Skin tags can develop on many parts of the body, especially in folds or areas that frequently rub against one another, such as the eyelids.

Common sites where skin tags can be found include:

  • Under the breasts
  • Underarms
  • Groin
  • Neck
  • Perianal area
  • Eyelids

What Causes Skin Tags?

The exact cause of skin tags is not known, but the likelihood of developing skin tags increases with age, particularly after 40 years old, and certain metabolic conditions like obesity, high cholesterol, and diabetes and other forms of insulin resistance (when the body doesn't respond to insulin). People who are pregnant are also more prone to having skin tags due to hormonal changes, but these skin tags usually disappear after giving birth.

Skin tags don't necessarily have to be removed, but they can be uncomfortable or undesirable for cosmetic reasons.

Complications

Some cases of skin tags on eyelids are mild and do not affect eye health. Others, however, can obstruct vision or irritate the eyes.

Vision Problems

When skin tags form or grow in size, they may cause problems with vision. Skin tags may block your line of sight or create problems with opening and closing your eyelid.

Cosmetic 

You may not like skin tags' appearance or they may make you self-conscious, but they won't do you any harm if they aren't removed.

If you see a growth on your eyelid, even a skin tag that's not typically considered dangerous, it's important to get it checked by a professional.

Removing Skin Tags From Eyelids

While there are some home remedies for removing skin tags, self-removal isn't recommended for skin tags that grow on your eyelid because the area is small and sensitive. Attempting to remove a skin tag from your eyelid could result in problems like an eye infection, bleeding, scarring, or even damage to your vision.

It's better to see a dermatologist for safe skin tag removal. They may use one of the following techniques to help you get rid of the skin tags on your eyelid:

  • Ligation: During this procedure, a doctor ties off the base of a skin tag to cut off blood flow. The skin tag then falls off within a few weeks.
  • Surgery: Your doctor will remove the skin tag with medical-grade scissors or a scalpel after numbing the area around your eyelid.
  • Electrocautery: The skin tag is burned at the base, which helps control bleeding during the removal. 
  • Cryotherapy: Your doctor will first soak a pair of tweezers or a cotton swab in liquid nitrogen, which is then applied to the skin tag to freeze it off. It may take a week or two for the treated skin tag to fall off.

Side Effects

After your skin tag is removed, the area may be painful or sore. Your doctor will likely use a local anesthetic during the procedure, and pain should not persist long once it's done. They may place a bandage over your eye after your procedure to protect the area.

There may be a risk of scarring with surgical removal, so it's important to discuss that with your doctor prior to your procedure. Skin tags typically don't grow back after removal, but new skin tags may appear in the same location and you will need additional treatments to remove them.

Coping

Skin tags on eyelids can make you worry about your appearance. These growths are typically flesh-colored and not very large. If a skin tag is causing you a lot of stress, poor self-esteem, discomfort, or vision problems, you may want to see a doctor to have it removed. Removal isn't necessary in most cases, but you can still choose to have it removed if you think it will make you happier. Resist the temptation to get rid of your skin tags by yourself, and consult a doctor for the best cosmetic and functional outcomes.

A Word From Verywell

Skin tags are mostly harmless, but they can still be bothersome. In some cases, a skin tag on your eyelid may affect your vision. Thankfully, you can have skin tags on your eyelids removed by a dermatologist using a number of different techniques that are safe and effective. While there are a number of home remedies available for skin tag removal, they are generally not recommended for use on skin tags that develop on eyelids.

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Article Sources
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  4. University of Michigan. Removing Moles and Skin Tags. Updated July 2, 2020.