A mole is a benign, noncancerous growth that occurs in the skin folds of the neck, armpits, breasts, groin, and eyelids. These growths are weak collagen fibers and are located in the thick part of the skin.
Skin tags are very common and affect nearly half of the population, Kemunto Mokaya, MD, told Healthline. He says they are more common in the elderly, overweight people and people with diabetes.
These skin lesions are usually harmless, but can be painful when they get caught in jewelry or clothing. If these growths are troubling, you can get help. Here are a few home remedies, over-the-counter products, and surgical procedures to get rid of stretch marks.
Home Remedies to Remove Skin Tags
Skin tags usually do not require treatment or medical attention. If you decide to remove the label, you can remove it with products in your medicine cabinet or kitchen. Most home remedies reduce the skin tag and dry it until it falls off.
Tea tree oil
Antiviral and antifungal, tea tree oil is safe to use on the skin when diluted in a carrier oil.
Wash the affected area first. Then use a Q-tip or cotton swab to gently massage the cream into the skin tag. The area will be cordoned off throughout the night. Repeat this treatment for several nights until the tag dries up and falls off.
Don’t throw away your old banana peel, especially if it has a skin tag. Banana peels also dry out skin tags. This may be due to their antioxidant properties.
Place a banana peel on the label and cover with a bandage. Do this every night until the tag falls off.
apple cider vinegar
Soak a cotton swab in apple cider vinegar and place the cotton swab on the skin tag. Wrap the area with a bandage for 15-30 minutes, then wash the skin. Repeat every day for several weeks.
The acidity of apple cider vinegar breaks down the tissue surrounding the skin tag and causes it to fall off.
Aging contributes to the formation of skin tags. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that fights wrinkles and keeps skin healthy, so applying liquid vitamin E to skin tags can help clear up growth within two days.
Simply massage the oil into the tag and surrounding skin.
Garlic helps improve the appearance of skin by reducing inflammation. To get rid of skin tags naturally, apply chopped garlic on the tag, then cover the area with a bandage and leave it overnight.
Wash the area in the morning. Repeat until the skin tag shrinks and disappears.
Over the counter products for skin tags
Along with home remedies, several over-the-counter (OTC) products available at grocery stores and drugstores can safely remove skin tags.
Freezing kits use cryotherapy (using very low temperatures) to destroy unwanted skin tissue.
“Innocuous lesions like skin tags require temperatures between -4°F and -58°F to destroy them,” Mokaya said.
He recommends finding an OTC or skin tag removal product that can achieve the lowest possible temperature when used properly. Finally, Mokaya points out that topical creams and cryotherapy can cause irritation and contact dermatitis, but are effective in the short term.
When to see a doctor?
Other skin conditions such as jaundice and moles can resemble skin tags. Some moles can be cancerous, so it’s best to get them checked out by a doctor. Your dermatologist or family doctor can diagnose skin tags. They will do this through an in-person visit, but telehealth may also be an option.
Most skin tags are not cancerous, but if yours looks abnormal or suspicious, your doctor may perform a biopsy as a precaution.
Surgical procedures to remove skin tags
Surgical removal of skin tags is a common outpatient procedure. After numbing the area with local anesthesia, the doctor may perform one of the following procedures, depending on the size and location of the skin tag.
Cauterization. Your doctor uses heat to remove the skin tag.
Cryosurgery. Your doctor sprays a small amount of liquid nitrogen on the skin tag, which freezes the growth.
Electropharynx. Your doctor can also burn the skin tag with a special electric current.
Ligation. Skin tags can sometimes be removed by cutting off blood flow using surgical sutures.
Surgery. This involves your doctor cutting the skin tag at the bottom with surgical scissors. The size and location of the skin tag will determine the need for dressings or sutures.
Tips for removal after care
Skin tag removal usually does not cause infection or complications. After the removal, some people develop a scar, which gradually disappears.
After removing the skin tag at home, apply an antibiotic ointment to the affected area and wrap it with a bandage like a cut. This reduces the risk of infection. If the area hurts or bleeds, see a doctor.
If you have a medical procedure to remove a skin tag, keep the wound dry for at least 48 hours as directed by your doctor, then wash gently with soap and water.
Your doctor may schedule a follow-up appointment to examine the wound and get stitches (if needed).
What causes skin tags?
It is not known exactly what causes skin tags. They often appear in skin folds, so friction plays a role. We know that they are composed of blood vessels and collagen surrounded by an outer layer of skin.
Studies have shown a link between human papillomavirus (HPV) and skin tags. Insulin resistance, which causes type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes, plays a role in the development of skin tags. People with insulin resistance do not absorb blood glucose efficiently.
A 2010 study found that multiple skin tags were associated with insulin resistance, higher body mass index, and higher triglycerides.
Skin tags are a common side effect of pregnancy. This may be due to pregnancy hormones and weight gain. In rare cases, multiple skin tags can be a sign of a hormonal imbalance or endocrine disorder.
There may also be a genetic link. It is not unusual to have multiple family members. But skin tags are not contagious.
Skin tags are usually harmless and do not require treatment unless they cause irritation.
Although home remedies and OTC products can be effective and inexpensive solutions, see your doctor if your skin tags do not respond to home treatments, continue to bleed or grow.
Several procedures can successfully remove skin tags with minimal pain and scarring.