What is a skin tag? How to remove skin tags? Medically known as acrocordas, skin tags are small, smooth skin growths that hang from the skin by an attached stalk known as a peduncle.
These overgrowths of skin may sprout on different parts of the body and are usually benign, harmless, and painless. It is possible to remove skin tags naturally?
Skin tags have primarily made an appearance as a cosmetic problem. Although there aren’t any serious repercussions for your overall health, these unsightly papules can be quite a cause for concern.
Skin tags are usually flesh-colored and may be soft or wrinkled. They are made up of blood vessels and loose collagen fibers that are surrounded by the skin.
Although these benign, wart-like growths can appear anywhere on the body, they are mostly found in areas where the skin frequently rubs against itself.
Since people who are overweight or obese tend to have more skin folds, they are especially vulnerable to this condition. They can be created in areas together with the armpits, eyelids, neck, thighs, under the breasts, chest, and groin.
There is no standard size of a skin tag, it can be anywhere between a few millimeters to about 2 inches wide and can grow to about half an inch in length.
Moreover, they can present in a variety of ways. Some people may develop one or two skin tags while others may be afflicted with several projections, occurring in isolated spots or as a bunch.
Skin tags are fairly common among both men and women, especially if they happen to be on the heavier side or are diabetic.
As far as the general population is concerned, the reported incidence of skin tags stands at 46%, which points to its widespread prevalence.
Furthermore, people who belong to the middle-aged or elderly category are at an increased risk, as 25% of the people who develop this condition do so once they cross their 50th birthday. 
Skin tags usually don’t cause any pain. However, they can become irritated if anything such as clothing or jewelry rubs on them.
What causes skin tags?
The cause of skin tags is unknown, but it is believed to be related to excessive friction of the skin.
Other factors that may play a role in the development of skin tags include:
- Presence of certain forms of human papillomavirus (HPV): A 2008 study published in the Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology, and Leprosy found that HPV may be a contributing factor to the development of skin tags.
- Hormonal changes from pregnancy and diabetes can pave the way for this condition.
- Heredity may make a person more prone to skin tags.
- Insulin resistance (Syndrome X): A study published in Anais Brasileiros de Dermatologia reports that many skin tags are associated with insulin resistance, a high body mass index (BMI), and high triglycerides.
You may consider procedures such as cautery, cryosurgery, ligation, and excision to remove skin tags. These procedures are performed by a trained medical professional or dermatologist.
Treating skin tags?
Depending on where the skin tag is located, you may not opt for any skin tag treatment – not seeing you can make you lose your mind.
However, you may want to seek treatment for skin tags for cosmetic reasons if they are, for example, on your eyelids and detracting from your appearance.
Another reason to remove a skin tag is if it is in an area with a lot of friction, even from just wearing clothes, which causes irritation and bleeding.
Since skin tags can be either a cosmetic problem or a cause of physical discomfort, or both, many people understandably choose to have them removed. Your doctor may decide to do any of the following:
- Your doctor may surgically remove the skin tag, which involves cutting it with the help of surgical scissors or a scalpel. The treated skin may need to be attached with stitches and then left to heal. Surgical removal ensures the complete removal of skin tags, especially if they hang from the skin. Minor bleeding is to be expected.
- Your doctor may choose to remove the skin tag using cryotherapy, which entails spraying or wiping liquid nitrogen onto the skin tags to freeze the tissue. This treatment is associated with little or no discomfort, and the skin usually heals on its own.
- Your doctor may prefer to burn the skin tags or destroy them by excessive heating of the tissue, usually with high-frequency electrical energy delivered through a wire. This is known as electrosurgery or cautery, as the heat burns the growth stem and facilitates a cleaner healing process.
Once the tissue is removed from the body, it usually does not undergo the standard analysis that a typical tumor would.
Simple Ways to Remove Skin Tags
Here are some simple home remedies to remove skin tags naturally.
Although these home remedies have no scientific basis, they have gained a great deal of anecdotal merit due to the huge success rate of these remedies among the users who have tried them.
1. Use dental floss
Small skin tags can be removed with a very narrow base dental floss. In fact, it is the easiest method that you can try at home, and it can also help you remove any skin tags on your neck.
The theory is that when you tie off the cutaneous appendage at the leg, you cut off the blood flow. Without blood flow, the skin tags will dry out and quickly fall off.
- Wash your skin with a mild soap and then pat it dry.
- Wipe some rubbing alcohol on your skin.
- Tie a piece of dental floss as tightly as possible around the lower leg of the skin tag.
- Cover the skin tags with a bandage.
- Sterilize the area every day with rubbing alcohol and change the bandage.
- Within 1-2 weeks, the mark will wither and fall off.
2. Apply apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar can remove skin tags. The acid in the vinegar breaks down the excess cells in the skin tags and removes them naturally.
- Dip a cotton swab in apple cider vinegar and apply it directly to the skin tags. There will be a stinging sensation for a few minutes that will stop soon.
- Leave it on for 3 or 4 hours, then wash the vinegar with warm water.
- Follow this remedy at least three times daily for 2 to 4 weeks to get rid of the marks.
- If you have sensitive skin, dilute the apple cider vinegar with a little water before applying it.
- To avoid scarring, apply olive oil or vitamin E oil to the affected area on a regular basis.
- please do not use this method around the eyes.
3. Tea tree oil can be beneficial
Since it is very acidic in nature, tea tree oil is also a good treatment for skin tags. This oil will dry out the skin tags, and they will gradually fall off on their own without any pain. In addition, the antiseptic property of tea tree oil protects the skin after the mark is removed.
- Dip a cotton ball in the water and squeeze out the excess water.
- Put three or four drops of tea tree oil on a damp cotton swab.
- Rub the cotton ball on the skin tags, massaging it gently in circular motions.
- Leave it on the tag for a few hours and then wash it with normal water.
- Repeat this three times daily for a few weeks or until the skin tags are gone.
- If you have very sensitive skin, be sure to dilute tea tree oil with an equal amount of water before use.
- Although rare, topical use of tea tree oil in some cases can lead to discomfort, redness, or itching. Hence, if your skin reacts adversely to tea tree oil, it is best to stop using it at once.
4. Apply castor oil and baking soda paste
Castor oil is another effective home remedy for removing skin tags. This oil helps dissolve and remove unusual skin tags without leaving a scar. In addition, they are loaded with many nutrients that help in maintaining the health of your skin.
- Prepare a paste by mixing two parts of castor oil with one part of baking soda.
- Optionally, you can add a few drops of lemon or peppermint oil to the paste.
- Apply the paste to the skin tags.
- You have to cover it with a cotton bandage and let it stay on overnight.
- Wash it off with warm water the next morning.
- Repeat this daily for about two weeks or until the mark is gone.
- You can even rub some castor oil on the skin tags several times a day to get rid of them quickly.
5. Smear garlic paste on your skin tags
Garlic has the properties to help to treat a number of skin conditions as well as skin tags. The enzymes in garlic are believed to help shrink skin tags naturally.
- Take some garlic cloves and make a paste.
- Apply the paste to the skin tags.
- Cover the tag with a bandage and leave it on overnight.
- Wash the area with warm water in the morning.
- Repeat this daily for a few days until the skin tags are gone.
Vitamin E oil is rich in antioxidant properties and known for skin regeneration potential. This is why Vitamin E oil is one of the best skin tag removal remedies.
- Break the vitamin E capsule to extract the pure oil.
- Apply a thin layer of oil to the skin tags.
- After covering the area with a bandage and let stay it on overnight.
- The next morning, reapply the vitamin E oil and put on a new bandage.
- Before going to bed, reapply.
- For best results, repeat for 10 days.
7. Iodine tag treatment
Iodine is a chemical element that helps deal with skin growth, such as skin tags. When applied to skin tags, it helps break down accumulated skin cells, eventually causing them to fall off safely.
For skin tags, use liquid iodine, which you can easily get at a grocery store or drugstore.
- Clean your skin with mild soap.
- Applying petroleum jelly or coconut oil to the surrounding area of the tags.
- Dip a cotton swab in liquid iodine.
- Apply directly to the skin tag, avoiding the healthy skin around it.
- Cover it with a bandage.
Do this once daily until the skin tag falls off.
8. Oregano oil is worth a try
Oregano oil has antiseptic properties and can help dry up skin tags. Also, when applied topically, it acts as a cleansing and anesthetic agent.
- Mix two drops of oregano oil and four drops of coconut oil.
- Apply the oil mixture to the skin tags.
- Let it air dry, then wash it off with warm water.
- Repeat this three times daily until the skin tags are gone.
Follow these remedies patiently and persistently until you get the desired results.
Note: Do not apply oregano oil to cracked or irritated skin.
9. Use a banana peel to remove skin tags
Banana peel is another effective treatment for skin tags due to its powerful antioxidant properties. The enzymes in the banana peel also help dissolve the marks naturally.
- Cut a small piece of banana peel and place the inside of it on top of the label.
- Wrap a bandage over the crust and leave it on overnight.
- The next morning, remove the peel and wash the area with water.
- Repeat this every night for a few days until the skin tags fall off.
- Instead of banana peels, papaya peels can be used.
- Note: Avoid using banana peels or papaya if you are allergic to latex.
Is it a skin tag or a wart?
Warts and skin tags- are they the same?
Warts are usually flat or slightly raised, while skin tags have a lumpy or bumpy appearance and hang down from the body with a weak leg of skin.
Warts have a rough and uneven surface, while skin tags tend to have a smooth, soft outer surface.
Unlike warts that spread easily, skin tags are not contagious.
According to this reasoning, a sudden outbreak or group of growths is more likely to be a case of warts than a skin tag, especially if it occurs near the genitals.
When does skin tag become a problem? Do skin tags cause any pain or discomfort?
However, you may want to consider removing them if they are unsightly and affect your self-esteem or if they have tripped over clothing or jewelry and are bleeding.
You’ll usually need to pay for this procedure privately because skin tag removal is considered cosmetic surgery, and is rarely covered by insurance.
If you are lucky enough, the skin tags may fall off on their own. This usually occurs when the enlarged skin tissue twists and gradually dies due to a lack of blood supply.
Can skin tags be removed at home?
Although these skin tags can be annoying, you should resist the urge to get rid of them in the hope of removing them completely. Using non-sterile equipment can cause bleeding or infection.
Another unwise strategy is to dip the marks in nail polish or standard wart removers, designed specifically for tougher skin, such as nails or warts.
Only a dermatologist has the knowledge and discretion to determine if it is safe for you to remove skin tags at home. Before you take matters into your own hands, check with your doctor first.
It will take into account all the necessary risk factors and show you the correct way to do it.
Could skin tags be a sign of cancer?
Given that the silent threat of cancer is ubiquitous, even the most non-threatening skin anomaly can ring alarm bells.
The fact that skin tags look as horrific as the skin abnormalities associated with rare forms of skin cancer only shows that your fears are unfounded.
However, despite their uncanny resemblance to certain forms of cancers such as basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and even melanoma, skin growths are inherently noncancerous and almost always benign.
But to appropriately allay your doubts and anxiety, it is best to have the lesions checked by a board-certified dermatologist who can rule out the possibility of any serious underlying condition masquerading as a skin tag.
Once you are reassured by a trained professional, you can decide whether or not you want to remove the skin tags, as there is no harm in leaving them.
When do you need to see a doctor?
Possible red flags that require a visit to the doctor include:
- If any sign is growing
- If the color of any tag is changed
- If you have any signs of bleeding
- If any sign tends to itch
Examination of the skin tag with a trained eye will help eliminate the risk of developing a more serious or precancerous condition at the base. If the visual examination is inconclusive, your doctor may do a biopsy.
Instead, you can use home remedies to remove skin tags. Home remedies to remove skin tags are less invasive and can get positive results.
Make sure to wash your skin with soap and warm water and allow it to dry before applying any of these remedies.
Home remedies are not recommended for skin tags that are large or cause pain, bleeding, or itching.
In addition, it is advisable to consult your doctor before proceeding with the removal of any skin growth or development.
As a general rule, all skin tags near your eyes or around your genitals are outside the scope of natural home treatment.
Removing them requires the precision and expertise of a trained physician because the use of chemicals, essential oils, or mechanical methods can lead to permanent damage to the soft tissues at such sensitive sites.
Natural skin tag removal remedies can take several days to weeks or sometimes longer to help. Be consistent and patient with your treatment.
Additional Tips to remove skin tags
- Many over-the-counter creams can also help get rid of skin tags.
- Avoid picking up the marks or trying to cut them. If you do, you increase your risk of scarring and infection.
- Follow a healthy diet avoiding sugar to prevent future skin tags.
- Shave carefully around the tags, as scratching the tags with a razor can cause prolonged pain and bleeding.
- If you have a skin tumor that bleeds, see your doctor right away.
- Safoury OSE, Ezzat M, Abdelhamid MF. The Evaluation of the Impact of Age, Skin Tags, Metabolic Syndrome, Body Mass Index, and Smoking on Homocysteine, Endothelin-1, High-sensitive C-reactive Protein, and on the Heart. Indian Journal of Dermatology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3726896/. Published 2013.
- Gupta S, Aggarwal R, Gupta S, Arora SK. Human papillomavirus and skin tags: is there any association? Indian journal of dermatology, venereology, and leprology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18583787. Published 2008.
- Baidya A, Halder AK, Datta PK. The spectrum of Cutaneous Manifestations of Diabetes Mellitus: An Observational Study from a Tertiary Care Hospital. Journal of Diabetes & Metabolism. https://www.omicsonline.org/open-access/spectrum-of-cutaneous-manifestations-of-diabetes-mellitus-an-observational-study-from-a-tertiary-care-hospital-2155-6156-1000791-99998.html. Published March 26, 2018.
- Almeida Ade, Pinheiro Aranha AM, Guiotoku MM. Association between skin tags and insulin resistance. Anais Brasileiros de Dermatologia. http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0365-05962010000100003&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en. Published 2010.