Doctors do not recommend that you snip off you skin tag yourself. "I see patients come into my office and you know they’re in pain because they've tried to clip the skin tags off themselves," says Geraghty. "Maybe part of it was left behind so it’s just having a hard time healing, or they’ve tried to do that trick where they try to tie dental floss or thread around it to strangulate the skin tag and end up killing part of the tissue but not the other, which is still hanging on. These patients will end up with a sore, red, inflamed, tender bump."
Skin tags (acrochordons) are small, noncancerous (benign) growths that usually measure only a few millimeters in length, though they can grow up to half an inch.3 They typically appear on the neck, armpit, groin or inframammary areas.4 Almost half the population has been reported to have a skin tag, but the condition is more associated with obese people.5 Skin tags are also rare during childhood, but older people have an increased chance of developing them.6
So you’ve decided that your skin tag is bothering you. As long as the tag is not infected or near a sensitive area, you can treat it yourself at home. Below, you can read about three of the best skin tag removal methods that you can try in the comfort and convenience of your own home. The fourth method is not recommended for home use, though many still attempt to try it despite its dangers.
Apply tea tree oil. This oil is well known for its anti-fungal properties. Get out a clean cotton ball. Dip it into clean water and then place three drops of tea tree oil onto the ball. Wash the area of the skin tag and the skin 1” around it using the cotton ball. Repeat three times a day. This is an effective way to dry up your tag as long as you are consistent with oil applications.
The best method for mole removal depends on different characteristics of the mole including size, shape, and color. With most moles (pigmented areas) we are either born with them, or they appear over time as we exose our skin to the sun. For flat moles, skin tags, or protruding moles that have been relatively stable since birth (with no rapid growing, shape changing, etc.) treatment with laser or excision can remove them easily. Other moles that have changed in color or contour should be removed for biopsy to determine if they are associated with skin cancer.
If you notice a growth on your skin, don't assume it's a skin tag right away. Check with a doctor first, as it can signify a more severe condition. If the growth is confirmed to be a skin tag and you want to remove it manually, sterilize your tools and check for any allergic reactions first, particularly if applying essential oils. If home remedies don't work, you may visit a dermatologist as a last resort.
Susan Besser, MD, a family medicine specialist with Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, says that if skin tags “get large, change color, or become infected or ulcerated, you need to see your doctor. In those cases, it may not be a simple skin tag and further evaluation is needed.” By and large, Todd Minars, MD, of MINARS Dermatology in Hollywood, Florida, states, “Skin tags are harmless. If they do not bother you, then there is no need to treat them.”
Your dermatologist may become concerned if one of your moles has changed shape or color, as this may be an indicator of skin cancer. Most moles are less than a ¼-inch in size, so any mole that is larger should be checked by your doctor. Identifying and treating skin cancers early helps avoid spreading of the cancerous cells to other parts of the body. Uncommon moles, also called dysplastic nevi, may: