Skin tags, warts, and benign lesions on the skin may cause you to be self-conscious about your appearance. Even if these abnormalities are completely harmless. While you may wish you could just pull or scratch these blemishes off your skin, there is a much safer treatment option available. 

Cryotherapy uses liquid nitrogen or Health Canada-approved refrigerated gases to target skin lesions and growths that do not look like the skin around them. The treatment is extremely cold (about -321 degrees Fahrenheit or -196 degrees Celsius). The tissue is frozen quickly and thawed slowly to destroy skin cells. Cryotherapy benefits include the elimination of the skin tag, wart, or lesion over time. At first, the skin will blister or scab over. Typically, it takes about 7 to 14 days to fully heal. 

For small treatment areas, treatment may be applied with a cotton swab or piece of foam over the affected area. For larger areas, your practitioner may spray treatment over the blemish or lesion. 

Types of Skin Growths Treated

There are several types of skin growths that cryotherapy can treat. The first is a skin tag, which is a common benign skin tumor. Skin tags usually match the same pigment as the skin surrounding the growth. They range in size from 1 mm to 1 cm. Removal is not usually medically necessary, but you may choose to remove unsightly skin tags for cosmetic reasons. Or you may seek removal options if your skin tag frequently gets caught on external apparatuses and is prone to irritation. 

Warts are small, grainy skin growths that can be found on your fingers or hands. They may have tiny black dots. Warts are caused by a virus that you get through touch. Most warts are harmless and disappear on their own, however, applying liquid nitrogen on warts can expedite this process. 

Solar and seborrheic keratosis look like a waxy, scaly, patch, or small spot on your skin. It may be raised in appearance. They take years to develop and usually do not appear in individuals under 40 years of age. A small percentage of these lesions can become cancerous. 

Moles, also called nevus, are dark spots on our skin. They are clumps of skin cells that grow together as a group. We are born with moles, but we also develop them after sun exposure over time. Most moles are harmless, but you may seek cryotherapy for your face if you want to eliminate certain moles that are bothersome. 

Molluscum contagiosum is a common dermatologic problem in younger people. It is caused by a poxvirus. This lesion responds well to cryotherapy. 

Cryotherapy is also used to treat certain skin cancer lesions and pre-cancer lesions to prevent the spread of cancer. 

What to Expect from Cryotherapy Treatment

Freezing the skin may sound a bit daunting, but cryotherapy is a very simple and safe procedure. Prior to your appointment, your practitioner will review your comprehensive medical history and conduct a physical exam. Be sure to tell your practitioner about any prescribed and over-the-counter medications you are currently taking as well as any allergies you may have, especially any allergies to anesthetics. You do not need to do anything specific to prepare for treatment other than removing your makeup if you are receiving cryotherapy for your face. 

Next, your practitioner will cleanse the treatment area prior to applying cryotherapy. You may feel burning or stinging during the application, but it should not be so severe that a local anesthetic is needed. After treatment, you can take pain relief medications to ease any discomfort. Cryotherapy is a minimally invasive procedure that is often recommended over more intensive surgical options. 

Cryotherapy Aftercare

On the day following your procedure, wash the treated area gently with fragrance-free soap and water. Do this each day to keep the area clean and germ-free. You will also be directed to lubricate the treatment area every day for two weeks. You may use Vaseline ® or Aquaphor ® to aid in healing and reduce discomfort as a scab forms. Unless the treatment area is actively draining fluid, leave it uncovered so it can breathe.

When your treatment area has completely healed, be sure to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to minimize the risk of scarring. You may have pinkness, lighter, or darker skin surrounding the treatment area for up to a year after your procedure. This is normal. 

Risks and Side Effects of Cryotherapy 

The cryotherapy benefits far outweigh the risk factors and potential side effects. However, it is important to note the risk factors just to be aware before seeking treatment. Common risk factors include, but are not limited to, swelling, loss of skin pigmentation, bleeding and blisters, scarring, loss of sensation in the treatment area of 12 to 18 months, loss of hair in the treatment area, and other healing problems. If you receive treatment on the forehead or temple, you may also experience headaches. 

Cryotherapy may be uncomfortable at the time of treatment and for a variable period afterward, however, it poses little risk and can be well-tolerated by patients who are not good candidates for other surgical procedures. 

You should notify your practitioner if you experience a high fever, chills, redness or swelling on untreated areas, increased pain over the treatment site, hot or hard skin over the treatment area, yellow or green drainage, a bad smell, or uncontrollable bleeding. Remember, these side effects are very rare. 

Am I a Good Candidate for Cryotherapy?

You are a good candidate for cryotherapy if you have any harmless growths such as warts, moles, skin tags, or lesions, that make you uncomfortable. It could be a small mole on your face or a cluster of warts on your right hand, but no matter the ailment, cryotherapy is a great solution to permanently remove those blemishes from your skin. 

If you have any growths that are irritated, say a skin tag under your arm that frequently gets caught when you remove clothing, you may want to consider cryotherapy as a solution. Cryotherapy is also a recommended treatment for different types of precancerous lesions on the skin and even some forms of skin cancer. In fact, cryotherapy is sometimes used to treat internal cancers such as liver cancer or prostate cancer! 

Cryotherapy Results

After cryotherapy treatment, the skin may appear entirely normal with no sign of the original skin lesion. It may cause a white mark or a scar when the freezing has been deep or prolonged.  The white mark may fade but can be permanent. The skin lesion may not have disappeared and may require further cryotherapy or some other form of treatment. Repeat cryotherapy can be performed after 7–14 days. Cryotherapy has been shown to have a high success rate in permanently removing skin growths.

Eliminate Bothersome Skin Growths for Good

Ready to say goodbye to that bothersome skin growth for good? Consider booking a consultation with First Impressions Rejuvenation Clinic today. The skilled and compassionate practitioners are always available to answer any questions you may have, as well as walk you through each step of the treatment and recovery process. 

Cryotherapy is a great treatment that requires little to no downtime and expedited healing. It is safe and effective. Take charge of your health and make the decision to love the skin you’re in today.