Skin tags are a biological phenomenon – no one knows exactly what causes them, although it’s assumed that they are caused by skin-to-skin friction, which is why we tend to develop skin tags on areas like eyelids, armpits, neck, breasts, and in the groin area.
They are little more than a nuisance in most cases, but if you want them gone, you can always have them removed by a doctor – or consider doing skin tag removal yourself.
Avoid the MD’s Office
A licensed dermatologist – or in some cases, a general practitioner – can remove a skin tag for you. Their methods can be painful, not to mention pricy. A doctor will use one of the following to remove a skin tag:
- Cut it off with surgical scissors
- Shave it off flush with the skin
- Cut out deeper skin tags with a scalpel
- Freeze or burn it off
Each of these procedures takes time out of your busy schedule, and each starts at around $100, and (you guessed it) most skin tag removal procedures are not covered by insurance.
Tried-and-True At-Home Methods
Skin tags are usually made up of a tiny amount of blood vessels and collagen, so, in most cases, it’s perfectly safe to remove them yourself.
Here are a few of the most common, safest methods for successfully removing skin tags without the hassle or expense of a doctor’s visit:
- Home remedies: Tea tree oil, banana peels, and apple cider vinegar are a few common household substances that are effective for removing skin tags. You’ll need to apply the item of your choice to the skin tag and cover it with a bandage daily or twice daily.
The natural components of these items will dry out the skin tag, causing it to fall off within a few days or, at most, weeks. While they take longer than over-the-counter products, home remedies are usually less irritating, especially for sensitive skin.
- Over-the-counter products: It’s easy to become overwhelmed with the choices of over-the-counter products available – especially when you consider that wart removal products work equally as well as products specifically designed for skin tags.
Freezing kits are one option. They are easy to use, safe, and only require 1 treatment in many cases. Choose the one with the lowest freezing temperature you can find for the fastest results.
Creams and oils work in the same way as home remedies – by drying the skin out so the skin tag falls off on its own. However, these products use chemicals which can irritate some people’s skin, especially in sensitive and highly visible areas.
Medicated adhesive bandages are another effective way to remove skin tags. These bandages come pre-filled with medication, so getting rid of your skin tags is as easy as putting on a Band-Aid!
- Clipping: Obviously, this method isn’t for the faint of heart. But as long as you have a sterile pair of scissors, nail clippers or a sharp blade – and a strong stomach – you can cut off a small skin tag at home.
Consult your doctor for medium to large skin tags (anything larger than 5mm), because they could prove to be a little too much to handle on your own. If a skin tag shows signs of malignance, such as irritation, bleeding, or any irregular growth, you should probably have a doctor take a look at it to rule out cancer and other health risks.
Otherwise, there’s no reason why you can’t safely and efficiently remove pesky little skin tags at home, with minimal to no pain or scarring – and save yourself a lot of time and money.