If you Google home remedies for how to remove skin tags, you’ll see that there is a wealth of options, ranging from the seemingly straightforward to the positively outlandish.
Home remedies for skin tag removal broadly fall into 3 categories:
- Cutting off the skin tag
- Topical treatments
Ligatures are one of the most simple home remedies for skin tag removal. The theory is that you tie a cotton thread around the base of the skin tag and over time it will fall off. In practice, this can sometimes work, as the tight thread cuts off the blood supply and causes the skin tag to fall, but there are a number of pros and cons
Pros of ligatures/tying off skin tags
Cheap and easily available
Cons of ligatures/tying off skin tags
Difficulty of application – depending on the size and location of the skin tag, it can be difficult to tie the thread precisely around the base of the skin tag. If the ligature is not properly applied, this will not be an effective method of skin tag removal.
Keeping the thread in place – for this method of skin tag removal to have a chance of success, the ligature will need to be in place for several days. However, if the skin tag is in a visible location such as the neck or chest, this may be unsightly. In addition, there is also a risk that the movement of clothes, scarves, washing etc may knock the ligature out of place.
Pain/risk of infection. Tying off a skin tag can cause some pain, especially if it is in an area which may get knocked. More worrying however, is the risk of infection as a non-sterile thread cuts into the skin. It is important to monitor the skin tag closely, and if you do have any concerns, ensure that you consult your doctor promptly.
Success rate. As mentioned above, the success is not guaranteed.
Cutting off the skin tag with scissors
Like ligatures, removing a skin tag by cutting it off is simple and it unlikely to require an additional purchase. However, be warned, a skin tag has its own blood supply, and therefore cutting the skin tag with scissors can cause a copious amount of bleeding and a significant amount of pain. In addition, there’s also a relatively high risk of infection, plus inevitable scarring, so this method is certainly not for the faint of heart.
Topical treatments for DIY skin tag removal
The array of suggestions for topical treatments as a DIY remedy for the removal of skin tags is vast and varying, although unfortunately none seem to have any clinical evidence that they will have any beneficial effect whatsoever. All need several applications a day which can be rather impractical. Treatment broadly falls into the following categories:
Tea tree oil is one of the more commonly suggested essential oils for the removal of skin tags. It does have a long list of skin benefits as tea tree is antibacterial and antiviral, so there are a number of common ailments for which is does appear to have a real benefit. However, there is no clinical evidence that it works to remove skin tags which are unlikely to be caused by a bacteria or virus. Moreover, recommendations include applying tea tree directly to the skin tag 3 times a day for several weeks, so after this time it could cause substantial irritation. It’s worth remembering that essential oils are highly potent, and instructions need to be followed very carefully to avoid skin irritation or even burning.
Oregano oil is another essential oil with antiseptic properties which is sometimes recommended for skin tag removal. However, oregano oil can be very irritating in undiluted form, and is only recommended for short term use.
There are also numerous recommendations for how to remove skin tags with other essential oils to be found on the internet, but again, do take care of you decide to give them a go, and remember most essential oils should be diluted in a carrier oil before applying to the skin.
There’s a wide range of herbal treatments suggested for the removal of skin tags at home, but again there seems to be no clinical evidence to support their efficacy. Many of the treatments are anti-microbial, but whilst they can sound plausible, there is no evidence that skin tags are caused by microbes. Dandelion juice may have the dual benefit of motivating you to weed the back garden, but there’s little evidence it will make any difference to your skin tags, and innocent as dandelion juice sounds, it can be an irritant on some skins. Topical applications of garlic are also unlikely to work, but at least you won’t be troubled by vampires 😉
Apple cider vinegar has been recommended for virtually every ailment, and skin tags are no exception to this. Again, there’s no scientific evidence that it will work, and spending weeks with a potent smelling plaster attached to your neck could drive away your friends, not to mention having to apply it 3 times a day!
One of the more bizarre suggestions for the removal of skin tags is the application of banana peel. Whilst there’s nothing to explain the theory of why this might work, at least the banana provides you with healthy nutrition whilst you are thinking about it:)
As you can see, there is a huge range of suggested DIY treatments for skin tags, and there are many more beyond those reported here. In fact the breadth of alternatives, none of which have clinical support, is a likely indicator of the lack of efficacy.
However, for many people, there is a real need to remove skin tags at home. It’s often much more convenient than a trip to a clinic, and certainly a lot cheaper. Cryotag, which uses cryotherapy, the same tried and tested freezing technology as used by doctors, does have clinical evidence to support the fact that it is a fast effective way to easily remove your skin tags.