Skin tags are common in both women and men, particularly when they reach middle age. But just what is a skin tag and what can you do to remove it?
What Are Skin Tags?
Skin tags are also known as an acrochordon or a cutaneous tag. They’re soft, hanging pieces of skin that are usually flesh coloured. Skin tags are attached to skin by a thin stalk, called a peduncle, which supplies blood flow and circulation for the skin tag to grow.
Although skin tags look unattractive and unappealing, they’re usually benign tumors of the skin and not cause for concern. They range in size from 2mm to 1cm.
Skin tags are often not noticed at all when they’re small enough or if they’re attached to a part of the body that you don’t frequently see.
You can have one or more skin tags in different locations on your body. Typical locations for skin tags include the neck, on the eyelids, under the breasts, and in the groin area.
Causes of skin tags
It’s not certain what causes skin tags, however there is some speculation that the following may increase the production of these annoying skin growths.
Skin tags often grow in skin creases and folds, so it’s believed that the friction of skin rubbing against skin, or rubbing against clothing, may be one of the main causes.
It’s also thought that being overweight can increase your chances of developing skin tags, due to the friction of excess skin.
Pregnancy hormones may also be a contributing factor.
Dermatologists suspect there might a link between skin tags and increased levels of insulin in the body.
When its safe to remove them at home
Skin tags don’t need to be removed or treated. If you’re not bothered by them, you can just leave them as they are. Remember to check skin tags frequently for any change in size or colour.
You may want to remove them for cosmetic reasons if they’re located on your face, neck, and arms. You may also want to remove skin tags if they become irritating from rubbing against clothing or catching against jewelry.
When it time to consult a professional
Although harmless, call your doctor if the skintag becomes painful or changes in colour and size. As skin tags grow, the stalk can twist, causing discomfort.
Most skin tags are quite small. For larger tags, ask your doctor for advice before attempting to remove these large tags on your own.
The same conditions apply for tags located on certain parts of the body, such as on the eyelid and around the eye. Skin tags in these areas require the precision care of a professional for removal, to ensure that there’s no damage to the eye.
Natural Home Treatments
Skin tag removal is possible without having to see your doctor, using safe and natural methods that you can do at home.
Skin Tag Removal with Revitol’s Cream
Revitol is a natural topical treatment used to safely remove skin tags at home. This product is made from plant extracts and ThujaOccidentalis, an essential oil that comes from the white cedar tree. ThujaOccidentalis is used in homeopathy and folk medication to treat a variety of skin conditions.
Revitol dries up the growth so that it detaches and falls off naturally. This home treatment works on all skin types and is easy and painless to apply. As well, Revitol doesn’t cause skin irritation or leave behind scarring.
How to use Revitol:
Apply Revitol to the skin tag three times each day. Continue using until the skin tag starts to dry up and becomes smaller in size. You can expect to see the skin tag getting smaller and completely removed in 7 to 10 days.
You can buy Revitol online through their website.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is an effective home treatment for skin tag removal. Tea tree is an essential oil that comes from the Melaleuca alternifolia tree, a tree native to Australia. The oil has been used for thousands of years in traditional medicine for its antiseptic and anti-bacterial properties.
How to use tea tree oil:
Use this treatment before going to bed. Clean the skin area around the skin tag. With a cotton ball, apply 3 to 4 drops of tea tree oil to the skin tag. Secure the cotton ball to the growth using a bandage.
Leave on overnight. You can safely repeat the process as needed. With each application of tea tree oil, the skin will become drier, until eventually the skin tag just falls off.
Depending how large the skin tag is, and where it’s located, you should see results in 2 to 3 weeks.
Tea tree oil can cause skin irritations in some people. For this reason, apply only to the skin tag. If you notice any discomfort, or irritation and redness of the skin, discontinue and use another natural method.
You can find tea tree essential oil online or in most pharmacies and natural health stores.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Vinegar has been used for thousands of years in traditional medicine to treat sores, wounds, warts, and other skin ailments. It’s known for its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, as well as an antiseptic. The high acidity of apple cider can effectively be used to break down skin tag tissues.
How to use apple cider vinegar:
Clean the skin tag and the surrounding area. Dry thoroughly. Soak a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar, squeezing out any excess vinegar. Securely attach to the skin tag with a bandage. Leave on overnight. You can repeat the process each evening.
Expect to see results in about two weeks, as the skin tag starts to get darker in colour. This is an indication that it’s drying up. Continue applying apple cider vinegar each night, until the tag falls off. Using apple cider vinegar is one of the easiest homeopathic methods for skin tag removal.
Rubbing Alcohol and String
One of the simplest methods to get rid of a skin tag is to use rubbing alcohol and string. Dental floss will also work. You can buy isopropyl alcohol in any pharmacy or drug store. The total cost of using this method to remove skin tags is less than $15.00.
How to use rubbing alcohol and string:
Pour a small amount of alcohol onto a sterilized cotton or gauze pad. Use it to clean the skin tag and the surrounding skin area. Cut string or dental floss into one piece about 2-feet long and run the sterilized pad over its length. You want to keep all the materials clean and sterilized.
Wrap the string around the stalk of the skin tag, as close to the base as you can. Tightly tie two knots so the string doesn’t loosen. Cut off the excess string ends. Leave the string tied around the skin tag until it dries and falls off. This can take anywhere from 1 to 2 weeks.
Remember to use rubbing alcohol on sterilized gauze at least once a day to clean and sterilize the skin tag and surrounding skin. After the skin tag falls off, apply antibacterial over-the-counter ointment to reduce the risk of infection.
The goal behind this method skin tag removal is to cut off blood circulation to the skin tag. Without sufficient blood flow it naturally becomes dry and breaks off.
Skin Tag Freezing Kit
A proven method for skin tag removal is to use a freezing kit. Liquid nitrogen is used to freeze the tissues and cells of the skin tag, breaking down the structure. Once these tissues and cells are frozen and damaged, the growth will die and fall off.
Freezing kits come with a spray or liquid that contains a small amount of liquid nitrogen. Also included are circular skin shields of varying sizes that let you target the skin tag through a hole without touching healthy skin.
How to use a freezing kit:
Fit the skin shield pad around the skin tag to provide protection for healthy skin. Follow the instructions in the kit to prepare the applicator. To prevent damage to healthy skin, use caution not to touch the applicator to other areas of skin or to your fingers.
Use the applicator to apply the liquid nitrogen to the tag. Hold the applicator on the tag for 40 to 45 seconds. You may feel some slight stinging.
Keep the treated area clean. A day or two after using the freezing kit you’ll start to notice the growth darkening in colour. In another few days it should fall off.
Make sure that you only apply the liquid nitrogen to the skin tag. Liquid nitrogen can reach a temperature of minus 60 degrees. It can be painful if it comes into contact with healthy skin.
You can find skin tag freezing kits online and at most pharmacies.
Topically applying liquid iodine may help with skin tag removal. Iodine is a chemical element that has been used to fight germs and heal wounds. When added to a solution of alcohol, iodine can be used as an antiseptic.
These antiseptic properties make iodine an effective natural home remedy for skin tags by breaking down the skin cells and tissue. It’s easy and safe to use.
How to use iodine:
Only apply iodine to the skin tag, not to healthy skin. Apply a layer of coconut oil or petroleum jelly to the skin surrounding the skin tag. This will create a protective barrier on the skin.
Use a sanitized cotton pad to apply the iodine solution directly onto the skin tag. Without washing off, let the iodine dry completely. Repeat this process twice each day. In about 7 days the skin tag should fall off on its own.
You can purchase iodine antiseptic liquid at most pharmacies or online.
Professional Treatment for Skin Tags
If it becomes necessary for you to seek treatment for skin tags, consult with your doctor or a dermatologist. Removal of skin tags can be done directly in your doctor’s office. The following treatment options are available:
Cryotherapy uses liquid nitrogen to freeze off the skin tag. After the liquid nitrogen is applied, the skin tag forms a scab and falls off in 1 to 2 weeks. This treatment is painless and easy and takes only a few minutes in your doctor’s office.
Electrocautery uses heat from a laser to burn off the skin tag. A small amount of topical anaesthetic is applied to the tag before the stalk is cauterized. The tag becomes dry and black and falls off in a few hours or days after the procedure.
Using surgery is an effective way to immediately and completely remove a skin tag. Your doctor will apply a topical anesthetic before beginning the procedure. Using a sterilized scalpel, the skin tag is removed. The procedure is quick, and you won’t need any time for recovery.
While it’s completely safe to use the natural methods listed here for skin tag removal, always watch for any complications. There may be a small risk of infection whether you remove the skin tag by yourself or have it removed by a professional.