Some may have noticed a small growth (mostly less than 2 mm in size) hanging off the skin supported by a small, thin stalk.
Home Remedies For Skin Tags
This growth is soft to touch and may be smooth and round or wrinkly and asymmetrical or threadlike, resembling rice grains. Such growths are called skin tags.
What Are Skin Tags?
Skin tags are painless and non-cancerous. While they can appear anywhere on your skin, they are commonly found in places where the skin folds like armpits, groin, eyelids, neck, etc. They generally occur after midlife in both genders equally.
It is noted that skin tags are not dangerous and are removed for aesthetic and cosmetic reasons. The following people are at higher risk of developing skin tags:
- Those who are obese/ overweight
- Those who have diabetes
- Women during pregnancy
- Those suffering from hypertension/ high blood pressure
Causes Of Skin Tags
The cause of skin tags remains unclear. A study conducted in 2008 found that human papillomavirus (HPV) may factor in the growth of skin tags. The study analyzed 37 skin tags from various parts of the body and found HPV in more than 50% of them. Another 2010 study found that the presence of multiple skin tags could be associated with insulin resistance, high BMI and triglycerides.
Very small skin tags may rub off on their own. Generally, skin tags do not require any treatment. However, a visit to the doctor is a must if the skin tag starts hurting/ aching.
- Cryotherapy: Liquid nitrogen is applied over the skin tag to freeze it. It will take around 1 to 2 weeks for scabs to form over the skin tag and fall off.
- Surgical removal: Scissors or scalpel is used to surgically remove the skin tag from your skin.
- Electrosurgery: High-frequency, alternating electric current is used to burn off the skin tag leaving minimal scarring behind.
- Ligation: Blood supply to the skin tag is interrupted with a surgical thread.
Home Treatment Methods
Some home treatment methods are available to remove skin tags effectively. Please note that you must consult a doctor before choosing a particular home remedy.
- Skin tag removal band/ patches: Similar to the ligation treatment, these bands work by cutting off blood supply to the skin tag. It contains medicine, and with the prolonged application, the skin tag may come off.
- Removal cream: There are some creams that claim to help remove skin tags. It is recommended that you clean the area with alcohol, file the tag down before applying the cream. Also, avoid creams with salicylic acid and tea tree oil as they can cause skin irritation or contact dermatitis for those with sensitive skin.
- Iodine: Though not scientifically proven, liquid iodine is supposed to remove skin tags. Firstly, protect the skin by applying petroleum jelly or coconut oil and then proceed to swipe iodine across the skin tag. Cover with a bandage until iodine dries off. Repeat till the skin tag falls off.
Most of the above-suggested home treatment methods only have anecdotal reports and no scientific basis. Please consult a doctor for more information and do not try these at home without confirming with a health professional.
Moreover, do not try home remedies, especially when the skin tags are located around sensitive areas like the eyes and genitals. Huge skin tags require medical attention. Skin tags causing pain, itching, or bleeding need to be looked at by a professional medical officer as quickly as possible. Using home treatment methods on such skin tags could worsen the situation.
You may receive unsolicited advice on removing skin tags using sharp blades, nail clippers, or scissors. However, it is highly recommended that you approach a doctor to get your skin tag removed and not personally follow such dangerous methods.
Skin tags are usually not a medical concern. However, consult a doctor to confirm the growth is actually just a skin tag and benign. Unless the skin tag keeps growing or you want it removed for aesthetic reasons, you can go about your normal, daily life.
Amanda Wingfield is a certified Diabetes Management Specialist who also holds an MD in Endocrinology, with certifications from ABIM and AACE. She has a decade of experience serving thousands of patients through her independent practice and has been working in the capacity of an expert diabetes consultant for the past 4 years. Ms. Wingfield is revered by her regular readers for her in-depth research and evidence-based analysis of diabetes medications, supplements, and treatments, and her highly critical style of writing.