Extra pieces of skin that stick above the surface of the body are known as skin tags. They look like small flaps of tissues that are usually hanging by a stalk-like growth on the skin. These can appear anywhere on the body but are more likely to be found on the neck, armpits, back, chest, under the breast, the groin area, or anywhere the skin rubs against skin or clothing.
The condition is also known as soft fibroma, cutaneous tags, acrochordon, fibroma pendulum, cutaneous papilloma, Templeton skin tags, fibroepithelial polyp, or fibroma molluscum.
Skin tags are considered to be a cosmetic issue and don’t pose any serious danger. However, they may cause irritation, especially if skin, jewelry, or clothing rubs against them. Still, they don’t usually cause any pain.
According to the estimations by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), almost half of the adult population has at least one skin tag on their body. Older adults are more likely to have skin tags as compared to younger adults.
The exact cause of skin tags is unclear, as almost anyone can be a victim of these small growths on their skin. However, skin tags are more common in women with excessive weight and elderly people. If someone quickly gains, they may also be at a higher risk of developing skin tags.
Additionally, the following are some people who may be at a greater risk of skin tags.
- Pregnant women
- Overweight people
- People who have family members with skin tags - especially parents or siblings.
- People with type 2 diabetes or insulin resistance.
- People who have HVP
- Aging People
Since skin tags generally don’t pose any health risks, it is acceptable to opt for home remedies or over-the-counter products to treat them yourself. However, you may need to visit a dermatologist or doctor for your skin tags.
However, you need to understand that these methods may take longer to solve the issue. If the skin tag is in a particularly irritating or embarrassing place and you want to get rid of it quickly, you may have to visit a dermatologist. Otherwise, you can opt for one of the following.
In most cases, you can treat a skin tag with products that are likely already available at your home.
1. Tea Tree Oil
Essential oils are used for a variety of cosmetic and therapeutic purposes. Tea tree oil, in particular, has antifungal and antiviral properties, which make it great for the treatment of skin tags.
- Wash the affected area.
- Mix a few drops of tea tree oil with a carrier oil.
- Sue a cotton swap or Q-tip to apply the mixture over the skin tag and massage it gently.
- Cover it with a bandage and leave it overnight.
- Repeat the process until the skin tag dries out and falls.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is another miracle ingredient that is already likely available in your pantry. The acidity of apple cider vinegar causes the tissues surrounding the skin to break down. As a result, the skin tag eventually falls off. However, make sure to use organic apple cider vinegar for this purpose.
- Soak a cotton swab in organic apple cider vinegar.
- Place the cotton swab over the skin tag.
- Cover the cotton swab with a bandage.
- Leave it for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Wash the skin with a mild soap or cleanser.
- Repeat the process until the skin tag falls off.
Garlic has anti-inflammatory properties which directly target the skin tags. Instead of making the skin tag fall off, this method causes it to shrink and eventually disappear. By reducing inflammation, garlic also helps improve the appearance of the skin.
- Crush a piece of garlic clove.
- Apply it over the skin tag and the surrounding area.
- Cover the garlic with a bandage and leave it overnight.
- Wash the area in the morning. (Do not skip this!)
- Repeat the process until the skin tag disappears.
It is important to remember that despite being natural ingredients, all of the above can cause skin irritation to some people. If you feel discomfort or reaction on your skin after using any of the above ingredients, stop immediately and visit a dermatologist.
There are several over-the-counter (OTC) products available for the removal of skin tags. You can easily find freezing kits at your local drugstore. These use cryotherapy to destroy the unwanted skin tissues that cause the growth of skin tags. These can be a little uncomfortable for some people but rarely cause any side effects. However, they provide quick results and are safe for short-term usage.
Otherwise, you can also opt for skin tag removal creams. These usually take longer than freezing kits to completely remove the skin tags but are generally safe to use at home.
In very rare cases, skin tags can be symptoms of Nevoid Basal Cell Carcinoma Syndrome (NBCCS). This is a complex genetic disorder, which indicates that an individual may be at a higher risk of developing a basal cell carcinoma - a type of skin cancer. This is especially something that needs to be looked into if skin tags appear on children, as they are least likely to develop skin tags due to other causes.
In any case, it is always a good idea to get a professional opinion. So if you do notice any skin tags, you may want to visit a dermatologist and rule out any possibilities. Even if it isn’t a symptom of NBCCS, it can provide you with peace of mind. Afterward, you can choose to have it professionally removed or opt for one of the home remedies or over-the-counter products.