Should You Pull Off a Skin Tag?

Skin tags are mostly harmless skin growths when left on their own. If pulled off, on the other hand, that’s when they can become a problem. 

Understandably, skin tags can be more than just annoying flaps of extra skin. If even just one appears in a visible area, such as the face or neck, it can make one feel extra self-conscious. It might feel like people are always staring at that abnormal growth on your face. So why not just pull it off? Problem solved, right? It’s just a tiny thing, anyway. 

Or perhaps, the skin tags in your underarm often get irritated when you sweat – which is also causing you irritation of a different sort. They’re causing you a level of discomfort that’s so disproportionate to their itsy bitsy size. There can’t be any harm in tweezing them off, can it?

Some people are more prone to skin tags than others, and if you’re among the unfortunate ones, then you have probably experienced that persistent need to simply pluck them off. But this would be a bad idea. No matter how irritating or embarrassing they might get, you should NOT pull off skin tags. 

There are a number of other ways – safer and more effective ways – to get rid of skin tags. Read on to find out more.   

What are skin tags and why do you have them?

An acrochordon is the medical term for a skin tag. This abnormal skin growth is simply a tiny sac or pouch of skin filled with collagen fibers and blood vessels, and which is attached to the skin by an even tinier stalk. It is soft in texture, although not always smooth. It can be flesh-colored or slightly more darkly pigmented than the surrounding skin. The size varies from as small as a grain of rice or as big as a grape. Unlike moles and warts, skin tags are harmless. 

Certain people are more at risk for developing skin tags than others. If you have a family history of skin tags, then you might also get them. If certain areas of your body are prone to frequent skin-to-skin contact or rubbing against tight clothing or jewelry, you might develop skin tags in these areas. If you are overweight/obese, pre-diabetic, or pregnant, skin tags are more likely to occur. 

Why you should not pull off a skin tag

As harmless and small as it is, that abnormal skin growth is still a living part of your skin. If you attempt to pull it off, it will be painful. Literally pulling it off rarely works, anyway, because that tiny stalk is deceptively delicate. It is not. That skin tag will not come off that easily. 

You might think of using a pair of tweezers or, if you’re daring and annoyed enough, a pair of scissors. But again, getting rid of a skin tag is not as simple as just cutting them off. Because there are blood vessels inside, it will bleed and you will be risking infection and scarring. 

Skin tags commonly appear on the eyelids, neck, underarms, groin area, and anus. Of course, if you try to pull or cut off a skin tag that is in a sensitive area, such as the eyelid or genitalia, the greater the harm you might end up doing to yourself.

Getting rid of a harmless skin tag can be simple, but you have to do it the right way. There are safe and effective removal options available. So if you’re committed to eliminating your annoying problem, you might as well do it properly. 

What are your other options?

Fortunately, there are a number of ways that you can get rid of a skin tag at home. But first, you have to understand how effective skin tag removal works. Because a skin tag is a living part of the skin, removal involves “killing” the growth. Most skin tag removal methods work by cutting off the blood and oxygen supply to the skin tag. Over time, the skin tag will dry out and turn black. When it’s completely “dead,” it will fall off on its own. 

Below are two of the most popular and effective over-the-counter products to help you get rid of a skin tag. 

Is Pulling Off Skin Tags effective
Close-up of multiple skin tags.

TagBand Skin Tag Removal Device

This product works by ligating, or tying off, the skin tag to cut off its blood and oxygen supply. The band works well on medium to large skin tags. You will simply have to wrap the band around the base of the skin tag’s stalk. It will take about 5 to 10 days before the skin tag dies and falls off on its own. 

You must remember NOT to pull off the skin tag even if it looks like it’s about ready to fall off anyway. You will still be risking bleeding, infection, and scarring if you pull off a skin tag that is not yet completely dead. 

BuyNaturally Skin Tag & Wart Remover Kit

This product includes a remover paste and a healing cream, among others. The number of applications will depend on the size of the skin tag; but it typically only requires one application to work. 

Other removal options include:

  • Tea tree oil. This will require at least twice-a-day application, every day, and works after a few months. 
  • Over-the-counter freeze sprays. This works by flash-freezing the skin tag to kill the growth.
  • Laser treatment. This is a minimal surgical procedure that is quick and effective, requiring only a single 20-minute session per skin tag.
  • Cryotherapy with liquid nitrogen. This is a more effective way of flash-freezing a skin tag, but must be done by a doctor. 
  • Cauterization. This medical procedure involves “burning off” the skin tag with electricity and must also be done by a doctor. 
  • Surgical excision. This is a minor surgery that involves cutting off the growth using a scalpel. 

Needless to say, you must not attempt minor surgery on yourself. You might end up with a bigger problem on your hands if you do. If you are serious about getting rid of your skin problem, you can consult a doctor to discuss your options. 

Final words

It’s important that you follow the instructions for proper skin tag removal if you use any of the aforementioned methods. And proper aftercare is also important to prevent infection and scarring. You can use soothing cream or gel to facilitate healing. You may also want to cover the treated area with a band-aid to protect it while it heals. If you opt for a medical procedure, your doctor may prescribe you with an antibiotic cream to further minimize the risk of infection and scarring. 

Skin tags rarely pose any health risk. But if you must remove them, do it correctly. They might seem like a small enough problem, but don’t forget that they are still attached to healthy skin and you wouldn’t want to cause unnecessary damage to your healthy skin.