Need a solution for your skin tag “problem”?
Skin tags are typically harmless, but if you want to have them removed because they are bothersome and unsightly and do not want to go to a doctor, there are safe options for you to do it at home. We have listed below the best, safest, and pain-free non-prescription products, essential oils, and natural remedies that you can try at home.
At-home skin tag removal should not cause other skin issues as long as you follow the instructions properly. You can opt for a natural removal, which can take between 6 and 12 weeks. The fastest do-it-yourself skin tag removal option only takes 20 minutes.
Identifying Skin Tags
Skin tags are usually small and flesh-colored skin growths that can appear almost anywhere on the body. Anybody can develop skin tags: men, women, and people from any ethnicity. They are mostly benign, which means they are harmless and are not symptoms of any underlying health condition. However, when they appear in a conspicuous location, such as on the face; when they grow in size; or when they form in a cluster, they can make some people self-conscious and also become bothersome, especially if they are often touched or rubbed against which can lead to irritation, bleeding, and even infection.
Should You Remove Your Skin Tags?
Removing skin tags at home is relatively safe and offers some benefits. You’ll be able to get rid of the unsightly skin growths and can once again feel confident about your appearance. You’ll be able to prevent future or further irritation and the possibility of infection. Some skin tags can become more difficult to remove the longer they are left alone.
This article will help you understand why skin tags develop, where they usually appear on the body, safe and popular DIY removal methods, and proper aftercare/recovery procedure.
Is It a Skin Tag or a Mole?
Those who have not had skin tags before might find it difficult to correctly identify one. They might easily confuse a skin tag with a mole which, unlike the former, has a greater possibility of being a symptom of skin cancer. Here are a few differences between a skin tag and a mole.
- A skin tag is flesh-colored, often the same color as the surrounding skin; a mole is usually more pigmented than the surrounding skin and may even have hair growing out of it.
- A skin tag is usually small and smooth and appears as an extra flap of skin, like a tiny stem; a mole is often round and either flat or raised, and has a different texture than the surrounding skin.
- Any change in appearance of a skin tag rarely indicate cancer; changes in appearance of a mole may mean that it is cancerous.
5 Most Popular Skin Tag Removal Products
Here’s a list of safe and effective skin tag removal products that you can purchase over the counter.
- HaloDerm Advanced Skin Tag Remover & Mole Remover – All Natural Skin Tag Cream – Remove up to 10 Skin Tags (FAST Results In As Little As 3-5 Applications) – Industry Leading Safe & Effective Formula
- #1 SKIN TAG REMOVER & MOLE REMOVER – Unlike most other treatment methods, HaloDerm TARGETS THE ROOT of your skin tag or mole and removes it for good.
- FAST & EFFECTIVE HOMEOPATHIC FORMULA – This cost-effective method provides incredibly fast results. We know moles and skin tags can be annoying, bothersome & even embarrassing at times. We created this formula with the goal of helping people feel & look their best! In most cases, skin tags and moles will fall off naturally within 7 – 10 days.
- Apothecary Extracts – Tea Tree Oil – 100 Percent Pure Australian Tea Tree Oil – 4-Ounce Value Pack – Pharmaceutical Grade Essential Oil – Treats Acne, Bacterial Infections and More
- Pharmaceutical grade, highly versatile essential oil
- Use to make your own shampoo, lotion, tea tree oil soap, body wash, toothpaste
How it works
You can’t go wrong with a product that is 100% natural and organic. Apothecary Tea Tree Oil is one of the safest ways that you can perform skin tag removal at home, and it is pain-free. There is zero risk of irritation, infection, and scarring; although it takes a lot longer to do its work.
Tea tree oil offers a number of medicinal benefits; it is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antifungal. If you have sensitive skin, tea tree oil is always a safe option. Apothecary Tea Tree Oil only uses the purest and highest quality ingredients.
Treating skin tags with tea tree oil requires patience and diligence. Apply oil directly to the skin tag/s using a cotton ball or swab, three times a day, every day. You may wish to cover the area immediately after treatment to facilitate better absorption and minimize the risk of the oil being wiped away before it is absorbed by the skin. It might take up to two months before the skin tag completely dries out and falls off.
Tea tree oil is recommended for skin tags that are located in sensitive areas of the body, such as the face and groin areas. You might also want to opt for tea tree oil to remove skin tags that are highly visible. For example, you wouldn’t want to be wearing a ligation band on a skin tag on your face for seven days!
- Pristine Herbal Touch – Wart & Mole Vanish, All Natural Mole & Skin Tag Remover (Fast Results, 20 Minute Application) Award Winning, Best Mole Remover, Best Wart Remover, Fast & Effective, All Natural
- JUST ONE 20-MINUTE SINGLE APPLICATION – Pristine Herbal Touch Wart & Mole Vanish removes 2-5 large growths or 5-25 smaller growths with one kit. Read the instructions fully and start the removal process with our one, 20-minute application process.
- FAST & EFFECTIVE MOLE AND SKIN TAG REMOVAL – One, 20-minute application is normal in most circumstances. No daily application of creams, oils or acids! Check out our before and after photos to see examples of real people who have removed unwanted moles, warts, and skin tags.
How it works
This product is a good option if you also have warts, in addition to skin tags, and if you prefer a quick, topical treatment to remove your unsightly and bothersome skin growths versus wearing a skin tag band.
The removal kit contains the medicated cream, an applicator, and a file. Wiping the area with alcohol is an extra precaution you can take before applying the cream on a skin tag. Alternatively, you can also use a cotton swab, instead of the applicator, for smaller skin tags.
You will, first, have to use the file to “roughen” up the area. And then you can apply the cream. You should expect a mild, but tolerable stinging sensation. The sting becomes stronger when the cream is used in more sensitive areas. Needless to say, you need steady hands when applying the cream; this is especially important when the skin tag is located in or on your eyelids. Another pair of hands and one who has the benefit of using both their eyes would be the better candidate to apply cream around the eye area.
After application, a small scab will form; DO NOT disturb it. The scabbed-over skin tag will fall off on its own in about 2 to 3 weeks. The skin immediately surrounding the treated skin tag will regain its natural color over time. You can apply aloe vera to help soothe your skin.
Because it is in cream form, it stays in place long enough to get absorbed. And you only need to apply it once. You can wipe off the cream after 20 minutes and just wait until the skin tag falls off. Just resist the urge to pull off the scab prematurely, or your skin tag will most likely regrow.
- BuyNaturally Skin Tag & Wart Remover Kit
- 100% Natural Homeopathic Remedy for Skin Tag & Wart Removal
- Complete Skin Tag & Wart Removal Kit Comes with Everything You Need to remove Skin Tags & Warts
- Micro TagBand Skin Tag Remover Device for Small to Medium Skin Tags
- Micro TagBand works by stopping the skin tags blood supply and results can be seen within days
- The included cone is placed over the skin tag with the removal device pushing off the band
How it works
Ligation, or tying off a skin tag, is one of the most common methods of skin tag removal. It can be done using a sterilized piece of floss or string. The location of some skin tags, however, can make ligation tricky.
The TagBand removal kit provides an easier option to perform a ligation with zero risk of irritation and/or infection. You can be sure that all the materials you’ll be using are 100% safe. A skin tag treated with TagBand usually falls off in about 7 to 10 days. Just make sure that the band remains in place for the duration of the treatment.
The cone-like device included in the kit makes placing the TagBand securely around the stalk of a skin tag easier. Once in place, the band will cut off blood and oxygen flow to the skin tag, effectively “killing” it. After about a week or so, the skin tag will fall off on its own.
The TagBand comes in two sizes – one for small growths, and another for medium and large skin tags. Each removal kit contains 20 bands, so this is a great option for those with multiple skin tags. Refill packs are also available.
What Causes Skin Tags?
Below are the most common factors that lead to the development of skin tags.
- Skin-on-skin friction is one of the causes of skin tags on the eyelids, neck, underarms, and groin. Areas that are prone to sweating mean that skin growths are more likely to get irritated. The extra folds of skin of people who are obese also suffer from constant skin-on-skin rubbing and, therefore, increased chances of forming skin tags.
- Friction from clothing and jewelry. Overly tight clothing, such as a collar and tie around the neck, makes the area more prone to skin tags.
- Excess weight which is a typical pre-diabetes symptom and which leads to extra folds of skin.
- The hormonal and weight fluctuations experienced by women who are pregnant are also known culprits. More often than not, the skin tags go away on their own soon after pregnancy hormones have normalized.
- Steroid use which causes testosterone and estrogen imbalance increases the risk of developing skin tags.
- The hormonal changes and loss of skin elasticity that are common among older people make skin tags a common sign of aging.
Skin Tag Prone Areas
Areas of the body that frequently suffer from skin-on-skin friction or contact are also the most prone to skin tags. These areas include:
- Groin area, particularly around the penis or vagina.
What Is the Medical Term for a Skin Tag?
Should you decide to consult a doctor, he/she may refer to skin tags using any of the following medical terms:
- Fibroepithelial polyps
- Cutaneous papilloma
- Cutaneous skin tag
- Non-malignant or benign tumors
- Fibroma molluscum
- Fibroma pendulum
- Papilloma colli
- Templeton skin tags
- Soft fibromas
- Pedunculated fibroma
Should You Opt for Skin Tag Removal At Home?
Skin tags are harmless; they do not pose serious danger to your health. Even those that change in size and appearance or become painful over time are rarely a sign of cancer; but you should still visit your doctor to definitively rule out any serious health problems. Whether or not they become bothersome, you can opt to safely have them removed by a doctor; or you can do it yourself at home.
Don’t be surprised if a new skin tag appears in or around the same place where you just had one removed; this is a normal occurrence. It’s also safe to remove the new growth/s the same way that you did the previous one/s.
Because skin tags are benign skin growths, their removal is categorized as a cosmetic procedure. Being a non-essential procedure, skin tag removal is not covered by health insurance. As with most cosmetic procedures, having a skin tag removed by a dermatologist may not be within your budget; depending on your location, overall health, and the specific treatment that is most appropriate to your condition, it can cost several hundred dollars. Opting for an at-home treatment is a cheaper option than a doctor.
If you have determined that your skin tag is benign, you can benefit from any of over-the-counter skin tag removal products we have listed in this article and perform the removal yourself.
Depending on the ingredients and how they are used, these OTC products vary in price and treatment period required. You may try more than one method, if necessary. For an added sense of safety, you may choose methods that are approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA).
Alternative Skin Tag Removal Options
- DIY ligation. As mentioned above, you can perform ligation at home using a sterilized piece of floss or cotton string. Sanitize the area with alcohol before proceeding to minimize the risk of infection.
Make a loose knot and carefully wrap the floss/string around the base of the peduncle (stalk). Slowly tighten the floss/string. You will have to re-tighten the floss/string daily to make sure that blood and oxygen are completely cut off. After about a week, the skin tag should turn purple or black. This means that it is dying and will soon fall off. Do not pull it off; you should allow the dead skin tag to fall off on its own.
- Chemical peel. This is one of the removal options usually offered by doctors. If you’d rather a professional perform the skin tag removal, this is one way to go. A chemical peel takes several sessions, and it is a bit pricey. The upside is that you won’t have to worry about possible infection and daily care and maintenance. A chemical peel is recommended for skin tags found in non-sensitive areas.
The chemical used is Trichloroacetic acid, which is also available over the counter. So you can perform the treatment at home, but you have to be extra careful when handling the chemical. It works by taking off layers of the skin tag during each application.
- Apple cider vinegar. Applying ACV to a skin tag breaks down the cells and shrinks the skin tag until it falls off. You simply apply directly on the growth using a cotton ball or swab. Leave it on for a few minutes to let the skin absorb the ACV and then you can rinse it off. Or you can cover the area with a band-aid. Treatment with ACV is 2 to 3 times a day, every day. It might take months before the skin tag falls off on its own.
- Freezing. When done by a doctor, the process makes use of liquid nitrogen to freeze off a skin tag with the purpose of inhibiting blood and oxygen supply. This option is also pricey, but works more quickly and leaves no scars.
Compound W Freeze Off and Dr. Scholl’s Freeze Away Wart Remover are over-the-counter products you can use for a DIY freezing of your skin tag. Treatment takes about one to two weeks.
- Cutting. We do not recommend this method as it has a high risk of infection and scarring. But those who do not mind pain and some bleeding and want a quick solution may opt for this “minor surgery” at home. You will need a sterilized scalpel or pair of scissors. You should also sanitize the skin tag and surrounding skin with alcohol. You may choose to apply a numbing agent to the skin tag before cutting it at the base of the stalk.
There will be some bleeding; and the bigger the skin tag, the more it will bleed. Make sure you have a cleaning solution, such as betadine, at the ready. You will need to clean the wound immediately after the procedure and cover it with gauze or a band-aid to minimize the risk of infection.
DO NOT attempt this method on skin tags that are located in sensitive areas, such as around the eyes, the genitals, and the anus. Because scarring is highly likely, you should not use this method on highly visible areas, such as the face. Cutting is also an option offered by doctors.
- Laser removal. This method is relatively pain-free and quick; the whole procedure usually only takes 15 minutes per skin tag. It is costly, however – approximately $100 per skin tag, depending on your location and other factors. Most skin tags only require a single session; skin tag clusters may require more than one visit. Laser removal is recommended for areas that are harder to target.
- Cauterization. This method uses an electrically-heated device to burn off a skin tag. It is a quick procedure – about 20 minutes – and requires only one session. It is less expensive than laser removal. You should expect some pain, although a local anaesthetic is given prior to the procedure. Scabbing occurs after, but the area will heal and return to normal over time.
This procedure is not recommended for people with multiple skin tags because there is some pain, especially after the anaesthetic has worn off. There is also a risk for scarring, so this should not be done on facial skin tags. People with diabetes or heart condition should also avoid this treatment.
Why You Shouldn’t Pull off Skin Tags
Because they are attached to the skin, skin tags also have blood vessels running through them. While benign, these skin growths are considered living parts of the body. Pulling them off will result in bleeding and a high risk of infection. Additionally, it is highly likely that a pulled-off skin tag will regrow in the exact same place.
This is why skin tag removal involves “killing” the growth by cutting off its blood supply and requires that the skin tag be allowed to fall off on its own. For most removal methods, this is the only way to ensure that the skin tag is completely dead.
Proper aftercare is essential to minimize the risk of infection and scarring, for successful healing, and to restore skin health. Aftercare may vary depending on the type of removal procedure used, but the treated area is typically cared for as a healing wound.
Below are pointers to keep in mind:
- When using topical applications, make sure you only apply the solution, cream, or oil on the skin tag. As much as possible, avoid exposing healthy skin to the topical treatment; immediately wash the area if this happens and just start over. Extra care must be taken when the skin tag is in a sensitive area, such as around the eyes and the genitals.
- For a cauterized skin tag, the area must be kept completely clean and dry for the next seven days. Use perfume-free soap and water in the morning and at night and pat dry.
- Avoid using rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide to clean the wound; these products slow down the healing process.
- Scabbing is normal and you should avoid picking a scab to prevent scarring. Scabs that have a high likelihood of being disturbed (e.g. rubbed against clothing or jewelry, rubbed or during sleep) may be covered by a band-aid or gauze.
- Redness is also normal and goes away after a few days. If it persists for more than a week, the wound might be infected and you should have it checked by a doctor.
Can You Prevent Skin Tags?
Because the exact factors that lead to the formation of skin tags are yet to be fully determined and understood, there is no guaranteed way to prevent them. But you can reduce your risk by following these steps:
- Lose excess weight and stay fit through regular exercise.
- Avoid wearing clothes and accessories that are too tight.
- If you are prone to excessive sweating, use anti-perspirant and powders to minimize friction in certain areas of your body.