If you are wondering how to remove skin tags safely and effectively at home, the answer is…you don’t. There are risks associated with removing skin tags at home, so you should let your dermatologist examine them to make sure there are no serious problems (such as skin growths that are cancerous).
What are skin tags?
A skin tag, also known as acrochordons or soft fibromas is a harmless growth that typically appears on the skin. These benign (non-cancerous) skin tumors are commonly found on the neck, axilla (under the arm), and groin. Skin tags appear as protrusions of loose skin, usually ranging between 2 mm (.08 inches) to 6 mm (.23 inches) in diameter; they are usually skin-colored, but dermatologists often observe larger darker-colored skin tags.
Why Remove Skin Tags?
It is unlikely that skin tags are painful, but they can be bothersome. Reasons a person may want to remove skin tags include:
- They often become caught on clothing or jewelry.
- There is a possibility that they will bleed.
- They may not be aesthetic (pleasing to look at)
Safety and Effectiveness of At-home Removal Methods
There are a variety of over-the-counter products and methods claimed to remove skin tags including:
Using toothpaste (for skin tag removal) – there are no medical studies that report toothpaste is safe or effective for removing skin tags.
Over-the-counter products – these products use a method called ligation to remove skin tags; a band is wrapped around the stem of the skin tag to cut off the blood supply. As a result, the lesion’s cells die. It is then easier to twist or remove the skin tag. Dermatologists sometimes use ligation to remove skin tags. Although skin tag removal at home is possible with ligation, dermatologists do not recommend it as a home remedy.
Skin tag removal cream – salicylic acid and tea tree oil are active ingredients in this product, which may cause a skin condition called dermatitis (irritated, inflamed skin).