Skin tags are small, soft, movable pieces of skin or tissue that protrude from the surrounding skin and are connected by a small stalk that has tiny nerves and blood vessels in it. Skin tags are harmless and commonly occur in skin folds and the armpits, on the neck and eyelids, under the breasts and on the back and abdomen. Women and obese people get them more frequently, and they can be caused by anything from hormonal changes to heredity.
You can use a variety of herbs to remove a skin tag at home. Covering the skin tag with a mashed garlic clove and then securing it with a bandage nightly can help dry the skin tag out and cause it to fall off, according to Fat Free Kitchen. Soaking the tag in tea tree oil or apple cider vinegar three times daily can also dry it out. Bloodroot is one of the most effective herbs to remove skin tags. Put bloodroot paste over the tag, and then cover it with a bandage; leave the bandage on until the tag falls off. But using it comes with some risks, according to the online magazine Love to Know Skincare. It can be damaging to healthy tissue, so be sure to only put it on the affected area. Also avoid using it on your eyelids or nose, and don't use at all if you are pregnant.
Cutting Off Skin Tags
You can remove a skin tag quickly by cutting it off. Cleanse the skin tag thoroughly, and then gently pull it away from the surrounding surface with a pair of tweezers. Take a pair of sterile scissors, cut the tag at the base of the skin and then quickly apply pressure with a cotton ball or towel to control the bleeding. This is the U.S. Navy-recommended method, but it will cause some pain and discomfort, according to Love to Know Skincare. An alternate method involves cutting off the skin tag's blood supply with a string or dental floss. Without a blood supply, the tag will eventually fall off, according to Easy Skin Tag Removal. Tie the string as closely to the base of the tag as possible and as tightly as possible to ensure there's no blood flow. The tag typically will fall off within a week.
Many over-the-counter wart- and mole-remover solutions are also effective on skin tags. Applying Dermisil to the skin tag daily will cause it to fall off within several weeks. Dermatend is another common skin tag solution. Apply it nightly, and the skin tag will turn into a scab before falling off. You can purchase over-the-counter skin tag solutions at any drug store.
When to Remove Skin Tags
Skin tags are completely benign and don't need to be removed unless they are causing discomfort, notes Love to Know Skincare. Skin tags can cause problems and chaff if they're rubbing against clothing or other skin; while skin tags are usually painless, they can hurt if they're twisted or tugged. People might also consider removing skin tags for cosmetic reasons.
Removing skin tags is generally safe, but there are some risks associated with it. You should always be sure that a skin tag is indeed a skin tag and not something else, according to Natural Remedies Review. Removing a skin tag by cutting it off can lead to infection if the tools used aren't sterile. Removing skin tags at home can also cause scarring.