If you’ve noticed fleshy little growths on your skin that are tempting to pick at, you likely have skin tags. These raised bumps and flaps are known as “acrochordons” or “cutaneous tags” by dermatologists. Fortunately, they’re completely harmless–but they can be super annoying if you don’t like the way they look.
Skin tags are benign and soft skin growths hanging on the skin. They are not harmful to health, but most people want to get rid of them, as they usually appear at unpleasant places, like the neck.
Skin tags are made of loose collagen fibres and blood vessels surrounded by skin. Collagen is a type of protein found throughout the body.
Both men and women can develop skin tags. They tend to occur in older people and people who are obese or have type 2 diabetes.
Pregnant women may also be more likely to develop skin tags as a result of changes in their hormone levels. Some people develop them for no apparent reason.
Skin tags tend to grow in the skin folds, where the skin rubs against itself, such as on the neck, armpits or groin. This is why they tend to affect overweight people who have excess folds of skin and skin chafing.
Skin tags are harmless and don’t usually cause pain or discomfort.
However, you may consider having skin tags removed if they’re affecting your self-esteem, or if they snag on clothing or jewellry and bleed.
Here are some home remedies to remove skin tags with minimal effort:
Apple cider vinegar – This incredibly versatile fermented vinegar is both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, making it a great choice for removing skin tags safely without bleeding and leaving any scars behind.
First, wash and thoroughly dry the area around the tag. Apply some apple cider vinegar to a cotton ball and apply to the bump. You can secure or hold the cotton ball in place for up to 15 minutes. Repeat this procedure three times a day until the skin tag darken, dries, and eventually falls off.
Avoid using apple cider vinegar to treat skin tags located near the eyes.
Vitamin E Oil – A powerful antioxidant with important properties for skin health, Vitamin E can be applied topically to skin tags. Use a pure, high-quality liquid Vitamin E that is formulated specifically for topical treatment (rather than breaking open a capsule intended for oral use).
Apply the liquid to the skin tag and cover with a bandage. Change the bandage and Vitamin E oil every day after cleansing the affected area. Repeat this process daily for several weeks or months until the tag is gone.
Tea Tree Oil –
An antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antibiotic oil, tea tree has been used medicinally for centuries to fix all manner of ailments. It’s particularly effective at treating skin disorders, and is known to remove skin tags in a matter of weeks with daily application.
Simply soak a Q-tip in tea tree oil and gently apply it to the skin tag three times a day, holding in place for up to 10 minutes. Using a Q-tip means the oil won’t come into contact with the skin around the tag. This is especially important for those who have sensitive skin, as they may find undiluted tea tree oil is irritating. Most people, however, won’t have any reaction. If tea tree oil is causing you irritation, blend it with a soothing carrier oil like coconut, before applying topically. Be aware this may extend the treatment time.
Coconut Oil – It contains lauric acid – a powerful anti-microbial, which kills viruses, bacteria, protozoa, and fungi by dissolving their cellular walls.
Rub coconut oil into your skin tags every night before bed, and the tag should be greatly reduced, or have disappeared, within a few short weeks. Coconut oil also works to remove warts in the same manner.
Garlic – This stinky herb is a fantastic natural medicine to keep in your pantry. It boasts antibacterial, antiviral, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties.
The juice released from a crushed clove of garlic is believed to remove both warts and skin tags naturally within a few weeks. Simply crush one clove of garlic and soak it up with a cotton ball. Apply it at night to the skin tag and cover with a bandage. You’ll want to wash it off in the morning to eliminate garlic’s pungent odor! Repeat the process the next night before taking a two-night break in order to reduce the risk of skin irritation. If you wish, you can alternate the garlic treatment and the more soothing Vitamin E oil treatment.
Liquid iodine can be painted on to skin tags or warts once daily. Some say the skin tags will fall off within just days of the initial application! Iodine is a natural element that breaks down the skin cells and causes them to safely fall off. Avoid applying the iodine to the surrounding skin – you can do this by rubbing a barrier of coconut oil onto the healthy skin, before applying the iodine with a Q-tip to the tag.
Avoid picking at the tags or attempting to cut them off. If you do this, you’re increasing your risk of scarring and infection.
If a treatment – whether natural or over-the-counter – is causing you pain, skin irritation, or bleeding, discontinue its use. Gentler options, like coconut oil or Vitamin E oil, may be more suitable for those with sensitive skin. Skin tags around the eye or other sensitive area may also require this approach.
Don’t forget that skin tags are harmless, so if yours don’t bother you then it’s not necessary to remove them. As with any skin growths, consult your doctor or dermatologist if there is a visible change in their appearance, or they begin to cause you pain.
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