Skin Tag Removal: At Home Remedies, Best OTC Options and FAQs

December 12, 2021 18 min read

What is a skin tag?

Skin tag is a benign, harmless growth that usually appear in random areas of your body. It could be armpits, neck, eyelids or even private parts of your body. Their color is usually skin tone, black or brown. You'd find them hanging from the surface of the skin with a thin root tissue which is known as a "stalk".

How does a skin tag form?

Most people develop skin tags in their early twenties and the size usually stays the same. Since most of them are very small in size (around 1mm-3mm), but they could grow larger in size in some cases causing irritation due to skin on skin friction. While the cause of skin tags is still unknown, other than assumptions for HPV and there's no way to prevent them, studies show that skin tags are extremely common in people who have diabetes or that are overweight.

Skin tags are so common that almost half of the population has them.

How to identify a skin tag?

The best way to identify if a skin tag is really a skin tag is by the stalk through which the skin tag hangs off the skin. Skin tags are usually small (1mm to 3mm). They're usually soft, smooth and round. Some may be wrinkly as well.

What is considered a large skin tag?

While the normal size for skin tags is around 1mm to 3mm, in some cases they can grow as big as 12mm (half an inch) in size. Skin tags grow due to skin rubbing against skin. This can also happen when clusters of blood vessels and collagen are inside thicker pieces of skin.

What is inside a skin tag?

Inside a skin tag there's nerve cells, fat cells, fibers and the surface referred to as epidermis.

What are skin tags a sign of?

A skin tag itself is not a sign of worry but the underlying cause might be. Skin tags are more likely to happen in people that are obese or with diabetes. In case of females, skin tags happen more often during pregnancy due to hormonal changes. Skin tags have also been linked to hyperinsulinemia, a condition where too much insulin circulates in the blood

How to know if a skin tag is cancerous?

Skin tags are usually not cancerous but they're often confused with other lesions that might actually be cancerous. It is best to see a dermatologist so they can identify if the growth that you have is cancerous or not. They might take a sample to perform biopsy.

Are skin tags contagious?

Skin tags on private parts (or genitals) are not transmitted through even sex. So it is highly unlikely that through a mere touch a skin tag could spread. Skin tags are really not contagious. So no need to worry too much about hanging out with someone that happens to have skin tags.

Are skin tags hereditary?

While it is not a clearly known fact but there seems to be some genetic link. Its not that the person directly inherits the skin tags, but they appear to inherit sort of increased susceptibility to skin tags. This is what makes it seem like the skin tags run in families.

Do skin tags bleed?

Skin tags may start bleeding if you try to pull, rip or cut them off. The only time where they won't bleed is when the skin tag is completely dried and is about to fall off naturally. Instead of skin color, they usually turn black when they're about to fall. If your skin tag starts bleeding on its own, you may have an infected skin tag. You should contact your primary healthcare if the bleeding doesn't stop and as well as after the bleeding to make sure the infection does not spread.

What does a skin tag look like?

Skin tag typically looks like a deflated balloon that sits on the surface of your skin with a tissue referred to as a stalk.

How to remove a skin tag?

  • Professional Removal: This is where you consult your healthcare specialist, especially if you skin tag happens to be painful, larger than normal in size. or if they're on private parts or genitals. They may also be cancerous, so it is highly advised that you get in touch with your doctor and seek medical care instead of any other methods

Is skin tag removal covered by insurance?

If you're looking for professional skin tag removal, please note that it may not be covered by your insurance as skin tag removal is considered a cosmetic procedure. It can cost you around $300-$500 for skin tag removal without the insurance, depending on number and size of skin tags that you want removed near the eyelid. We recommend consulting your insurance company first and find out if they will cover the removal process for you or not. If they don't cover it, then you can easily find a dermatologist near you through American Academy of Dermatology Association.

However if you fall into the common category where your skin tag is just benign and not causing any problems, you can definitely remove it for solely cosmetic reasons without spending hundreds of dollars and going through surgical processes. There are countless effective home remedies available for removing skin tags nowadays which are non-surgical and hardly cause any pain.

How to remove a skin tag at home?

How to burn off skin tag?

Laser Skin Tag Remover Pen is a fast and an extremely effective tool if you have a skin tag that's of normal size (1mm-3mm) on less sensitive areas such underarms (under armpit), hands, legs, inner thigh, wrists, elbows, neck, nose etc. The process used is known as Electrocautery or Cauterization in which a needle is used to burn off the skin tag. This results in the skin tag falling off the natural way. Also the scarring goes away within a few weeks. With this method you can almost remove your skin tag in one night. Which is why it is considered one of the best over the counter skin tag remover.

Aven Buzz Skin Tag Remover Pen

Websites Where Skin Tag Removers Can Be Found Easily

  • Aven Buzz
  • eBay
  • Walmart
  • CVS
  • Walgreens
  • Target
  • Amazon

Products That Help You Remove Skin Tags Naturally

What is the best skin tag remover on the market?

If you're looking for the ways to get rid of a skin tag at home, then these products might be what you've been looking for.

Freezing kits are another popular DIY remedy which are used to freeze skin tags right at home. These kits are based on the liquid nitrogen formula that's actually used by the doctors. However to make it safer for home use, dimethyl ether is used for freezing the skin tag. Since the kit also includes patches with which you can target only the skin tag and avoid putting the formula on the areas you don't want it spread to. Overall freezing kits are safe and can be used to target skin tag that you have in an uncomfortable place. The only drawback is that you might need several applications before the skin tag falls off, which takes around 3-8 weeks.

Toothpastes are used for all sorts of health problems but they're not backed by science in terms of safety and removal of skin tag. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that you see your doctor first to make sure that the lesion is not a form of skin cancer. If the removal through the toothpaste doesn't go as planned, you might end up infecting the area as well.

Patches are a well known solution for dealing with acne removal, at the same time they've gained popularity over time in terms of skin tag removal as well. A patch usually dries up the skin tag to have it fall off. While this method is considered fast, safe and effective, it might not work for everyone. While the patches continue to get good reviews for removing acne, they get just as bad reviews for removing skin tags.

Bands do work for majority of the skin tag types. But here's some important advice you should follow while looking for the rubber band. They're available in regular version and micro version. Choosing one out of the two depends on the size of your skin tag. If you buy the regular version and your skin tag is too thin, the rubber band will just fall off and won't work. And if you get the micro version and your skin tag is large in size, the band would be too small for it. To make sure you get the right band, we recommend carefully reviewing the instructions provided by the manufacturer and then selecting the band according to the size of your skin tag.

Creams are surely one of the painless remover options for skin tags. Most brands usually claim that the skin tags would go away in 3-6 weeks. But if you're impatient, you might not like it since it is not a guarantee that the skin tag would fall of 100%. According to our experience, creams are usually effective for large skin tags. The reason behind this is that if the skin tag is large enough, you can easily put on the cream on it. However if the skin tag is too small in size, you may end up burning the skin as well along with the skin tag. Make sure to use a Qtip if you are wanting to buy a cream for skin tag removal.

Essential oils are extremely popular in aromatherapy. Their benefits do not stop just there. Due to their antifungal, antimicrobial and, antiviral properties, essential oils are known to remove skin tags as well. Amongst all most used essential oils are Neem oil, Frankincense oil, Cypress oil, Clove oil, Oregano oil, Cinnamon bark oil and, tea tree oil. If you have any of these oils and they are highly concentrated, please make sure to dilute them with a carrier oil. You shouldn't use essential oils if you're pregnant or breastfeeding or have any hormonal disorders.

Liquid nitrogen (dimethyl ether) is well known to be used in cryotherapy or cryosurgery. For home use liquid nitrogen is not recommended because it might be flammable in some cases, which is why its agent dimethly ether is used in doing cryotherapy at home. It helps you freeze off your skin tag, so the blood flow stops to that area and the skin tag falls off.

Can you use skin tag remover on moles and warts?

Skin tags, moles, and warts are different. Most skin tag remover products are made specifically for skin tags only. But Aven Buzz Skin Tag Remover Pen can be used for skin tags, moles, and warts too. 

Do Skin Tag Removal Products Really Work?

If you're looking for an instant solution, then at home remedies might not be for you. This is because the skin tag needs time to dry and fall off, which takes some weeks. If you're okay with the waiting part, then home remedies are one of the best options available for removing skin tags. The most important part is to choose the right product for the right type of skin tag.

How to remove a skin tag naturally?

Probably not the most ideal option especially if you're looking to get rid of the skin tag overnight. Most of these methods focus on breaking down the skin tag issue which causes the skin tag to dry out and fall off, which can take several weeks to happen. However if you like to stay away from medical procedures, these homeopathic options may help.

APPLE CIDER VINEGAR

Firstly, cleanse the area where you have the skin tag. Then soak a cotton ball in the apple cider vinegar solution. Place the cotton ball on top of the skin tag along with a bandage to keep it in place for at least 15 to 30 minutes. Remove the bandage and wash the area. Repeat this process daily as it may take couple of weeks for the acid in apple cider vinegar to break down the skin tag tissue.

FRESHLY CRUSHED GARLIC

Be prepared for this one because you're gonna have to be a real garlic lover to go through this method but it might be worth it. Apply the crushed garlic to your skin tag and cover it with the bandage. You'll need to leave it overnight, everyday. Eventually the skin tag may start shrinking or may even go away completely. If you can stand the garlic smell, you can stand the test of time.

TEA TREE OIL

Due to its antifungal and antiviral properties, tea tree oil is generally considered safe for your skin. Simply apply it on the skin tag and cover it with the bandage overnight. Repeat the process until the skin tag dries out and falls off naturally.

VITAMIN E

Best known for its antioxidant properties, when you apply Vitamin E to your skin tag, you may even see the skin tag growth disappear within just a few days.

Removing skin tags with nail polish. Is it safe?

Nail polish is considered toxic and to remove skin tags you should be in a sterile environment. Using home remedies such as nail polish might give you an infection since it is created from powerful chemicals. Your nails are made out of hard protein called Keratin because of which you're able to use nail polish on your nails. But even the healthiest nails start to weaken and even turn yellow if the nail polish is used consistently.

While the Keratin in your nails prevents your skin from absorbing those harsh chemicals in nail polishes, imagine what can happen to your skin tag. It can very easily absorb anything you put on it because it doesn't have any protective mechanism like Keratin in your nails.

You should definitely avoid using clear nail polish to get rid of skin tags. Because of the nail polish being a toxic substance, the doctors DO NOT recommend it either.

Do skin tags grow back?

After the removal, skin tags usually don't grow back. In rare cases it does happen which could mean that you're just prone to having skin tags in that specific area.

Do skin tags go away after pregnancy?

While there's nothing you can do to prevent skin tags during the pregnancy because the hormonal changes are not under your control. But many of the skin tags shrink on their own after pregnancy. They may even go away completely. If they don't go away, they'll at least be smaller and easier to remove.

How long does it take for a skin tag to fall off?

Depending upon the method that you use to get rid of the skin tag, the time frames are going to be different.

  • If you use at home natural remedies such as applying essential oils on skin tags, it may take 3 to 6 weeks for the skin tag to dry out and fall off
  • If your doctor freezes off the skin tag with liquid nitrogen, it typically takes a day or two
  • If you your doctor cauterizes (burns off) the skin tag, it is gone almost instantly

How to remove a skin tag on eyelid, neck, armpits, face and private parts like inner thigh, buttocks, labia or boobs?

Skin tags don't necessarily need to be removed. However if the skin tags are large enough, it can be extremely uncomfortable for the eyes and even cause irritation or obstruct vision in some cases. There are some home remedies that you can use to remove the skin tag.

  • Patches and bands: They basically stop the blood flow to the skin tag area which causes the cells to die and the tag to fall off.
  • Cryotherapy freezing kits: They use liquid nitrogen formulation and agents to freeze the skin tag and it ends up falling in about 3-8 weeks.
  • Creams: Most brands claim that it can help remove the skin tag within 2-3 weeks. But you should avoid the ones that contain salicylic acid.
  • Apple cider vinegar: Simply soak a cotton ball in vinegar and attach it to the tag using a bandage. Do it 2-3 times a day until the skin tag falls off.
  • Tea tree oil: One of the commonly used essential oil in treating skin conditions, it can also help with the skin tags. Apply with the cotton ball for 10 mins daily. It might take several weeks to fall off. You should avoid using it if you have sensitive skin.
  • Clipping or Snipping: This should be done only if your doctor approves of it. This works only for small skin tags. Medium to large skin tags can cause infections and excessive bleeding if you clip them. This has a lot of risks, we personally don't recommend it. Read more on American Association of Dermatology.
  • Removal devices: These are actually the most useful ones in terms of skin tag removal and work on almost all body parts. Even the dermatologists use similar devices to laser off the skin tags. Check it out here.

Warnings for skin tag removal:

  • Do Not remove skin tags if you have or ever had skin cancer
  • Do Not remove skin tags if you are on blood thinners
  • Do Not remove skin tags around private parts as they might be genital warts instead

How to tie off a skin tag with thread or dental floss?

If the skin tag is attached with a very thin root, you may try a thread or a dental floss to remove it. What it actually does is that it stops the blood flow to the skin tag itself, which causes the cells to die and the skin tag to fall off.

Steps to remove skin tag with thread of dental floss:

  • Make sure to clean the skin tag and area around it with the warm water
  • Remove make up or any other beauty products if you have them on
  • Use alcohol solution to clean the are to prevent infections from happening
  • You'll also need a tweezer in this process. Sterilize it before using it. Pull the skin tag away so you can reach the thin layer at the bottom and tie it with the floss
  • Take a long enough piece of dental floss that it easily ties the knot around the skin tag and you're able hold it from both the ends. If you need to wrap it more than once or twice, that's okay too
  • Leave the floss tied until the blood supply cuts off to the skin tag. A typical sign is when the skin color changes to black, purple or dark red
  • Remove the floss and the skin tag should fall off. If it doesn't fall off, then this process might not work for you

If you've tried all the steps and it hasn't worked, you may also consider heating and burning the skin tag so it falls off for sure using this laser device.

How to remove skin tag on nipple?

Causes

  • Because of rapid weight gain, a lot of pregnant women also get skin tags because that cutie belly has been rubbing against the breasts.
  • Sometimes we don't notice but the size of the breasts might have also grown a bit compared to when you got the bra. As a result, skin-to-clothing friction can cause skin tags on the nipple
  • Women who breastfeed their baby regularly can also develop skin tags due to constant friction
  • As sexy as that piercing might look on the nipples, it may also cause skin tags due to the nipple rubbing against the bra or if you wear tight body hugging clothing

Removal

  1. Cutting them off - A lot of people do this but it is a method that can cause extreme pain and can result in excessive bleeding and leave scarring. While this method is not recommended by most doctors, University of Utah has something else to say.
  2. Essential oils - There are a lot a them that exist in the market and most of them help you remove skin tags within 3 to 6 weeks of daily application. You can also check our list of essential oils that we have handpicked for you. Most common one used for skin tags still remains tea tree oil. Make sure to dilute it if you have a highly concentrated essential oil.
  3. Dental floss - Yup! You heard that right. If your skin tag is attached with a thin base root (also called "stalk") you may consider using a dental floss. Once you tie the skin tag, the cells end up dying and the tag falls of on its own.
  4. Freezing - While there are a lot of kits available in the market that you can use at the privacy of your home, but they might not be safe for sensitive areas such as nipples. A visit to the doctor might be required if you'd like to remove the skin tag through Cryosurgery.
  5. OTC removal - Apple cider vinegar, patches and bands, removal creams are some good over-the-counter removal methods. A lot of people also prefer to heat the skin tag.
  6. Dermatologist - Find a dermatologist near you.

Why am I getting skin tags all of a sudden?

If you're going through hormonal changes such as pregnancy or increased levels of growth factors, the chances of developing skin tags increase. Insulin resistance is also known to cause skin tags suddenly. Although skin tags are nothing to worry about, but if you develop clusters of them or painful ones, you should definitely see your doctor.

What does it mean when a skin tag turns black or purple?

You most likely have a clotted skin tag. That is when the color changes and turns to black or purplish. Its usually a sign that the blood supply to the skin tag is not as much as it used to be when it was same color as the skin. In 3 to 10 days, the skin tag should fall off naturally. In case the skin tag changes colors or starts to bleed, you should immediately consult your dermatologist.

How to cut off a skin tag?

While this is something no one would ever recommend to do at home as it can result into severe bleeding or infection, if not done correctly. However people still use this method at home. They usually cut off a skin tag using nail clippers or surgical scissors. This process can be extremely dangerous and you should leave it to the doctors only if you want to get the skin tag cut off.

What happens if you rip a skin tag off?

Thinking of removing skin tags overnight is really not a good idea. Ripping off a skin tag can cause bleeding or even an infection. If the skin tag happens to be cancerous one, then it can even spread the cancer cells which will cause more harm than good.

How to cut off a skin tag with scissors?

  1. Yes, you can use sharp clean cuticle scissors to cut off a skin tag according to an article published by University of Utah
  2. Certified dermatologist Dr. Susan Bard, MD also recommends to sterilize the scissors thoroughly to avoid any infections
  3. A good idea is to use a numbing cream or ointment as well
  4. Brands like La Grange, Iris and, Castroviejo offer scissors designed specifically for skin tags. You should always look for surgical scissors
  5. If you use regular scissors or clippers, It may cause you to go to the ER if there is excessive bleeding
  6. Do not cut a large skin tag (anything above 3mm is a BIG NO). It should be cauterized or frozen by the doctor
  7. Before cutting the skin tag, are you sure that it is 100% a skin tag? If you're not, you might end up cutting a growth that was actually cancerous and can easily spread cancerous cells
  8. An article reviewed by Dr. Debra Jaliman, MD can help you differentiate between a skin tag, mole and, a freckle, So you can be sure before proceeding to cut off the skin tag
  9. Using a clear nail polish is a good alternative to using scissors but it is not a scientifically proven treatment. It is still safer than using scissors actually
  10. While it may be tempting to do a DIY on your skin tag, we DO NOT recommend that you ever do it. Even if you plan on still doing it, then you should go with ways that are proven to work and are safe to do at home. Most common ways are applying apple cider vinegar, essential oils, Vitamin E, Freezing or Burning the skin tag, so the skin tag falls off naturally

How to prevent a skin tag?

Since the researchers still don't know the main factors that cause a skin tag in the first place, there might not be an exact way to prevent a skin tag from occurring. However studies do show that skin tags are common in people with HPV (human papillomavirus), diabetes and obesity.

How big can a skin tag get?

Skin tags are usually small, from 1mm to 3mm. But in some cases they can grow as large as 12mm (almost half an inch). If you've noticed that your skin tag has been consistently growing, you should consider it getting removed from your healthcare professional.

Why does my skin tag itch and hurt?

Since most skin tags happen to be in places where the skin folds or creases, as a result the skin on skin friction can cause the skin tag to irritate and cause itching and pain. For example, skin tag under the breasts, armpits or eyelids. It could also happen due to the tight clothing that you wear that rubs against your skin tag or that nice jewelry that you wear which keeps on getting stuck to the skin tag on your chest, causing even more irritation or itchiness.

You should definitely reach out to your doctor if your skin tag hurts more than usual because in rare cases the skin tags are also found to be cancerous. They're taken off immediately by your dermatologist or doctor to prevent the further spread of cancer cells.

How to safely remove a skin tag?

The safest way to remove a skin tag is to be in a sterile environment at your dermatologist's office. This way you'll be sure and relaxed that the chances of any infections or complications will be minimised.

How does a dermatologist remove a skin tag?

In-office procedures nearly provide immediate results. Most dermatologists use methods such as:

  • Cauterization - A process where the skin tag is burned off to get rid of it
  • Cryotherapy - Skin tag is frozen with the liquid nitrogen to have it fall off
  • Excision - Skin tag is cut off using a surgical procedure

How much does it cost to get skin tag removed?

  • It costs around $300-$600, depending on the size and number of skin tags you want removed.
  • Insurance companies do not cover the cost of skin tag removal since it is considered a cosmetic procedure.

What To Expect After Skin Tag Removal?

  • Clean the area where you removed the skin tag at least twice a day with antibacterial soap and water
  • Being extra cautious with this is a good idea. You should also consider putting antibiotic ointment and cover it with a bandage
  • There might be slight discomfort for a couple of days after you removed the skin tag. If there's excessive pain, you may take over the counter pain relievers
  • Do not scratch or rub while the wound or the scar is healing. It may itch during the recovery. Keeping the area moist with products such as vaseline may help prevent excessive itching
  • Avoid wearing body hugging or tight clothing on the site where skin tag was removed
  • If you got the skin tag removed by your healthcare professional, you should consider scheduling a follow up appointment within 7-10 days after the removal
  • Redness and bruising are very common after you get the skin tag removed. The time for the healing would vary upon the size and depth of the skin tag
  • There might also be some mild pain for 24-48 hours after you got the skin tag removed
  • In case of getting larger skin tags removed, there may also be some scarring left which usually heals on its own. If it doesn't heal, please make sure to consult your doctor



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NEWSLETTER | BY AVEN BUZZ.