People have used all kinds of crazy methods to try removing skin tags on their own, says Dr. Rossi. He’s heard of people tying strings around them, burning them, trying to pick them off with their fingers, and even slamming books against them. “It’s wild what people will do,” he says. Check out more terrible skin-care advice dermatologists wish you’d stop following.
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As far as other DIY methods for skin tag removal at home, such as applying apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, tea tree oil, etc., Geraghty notes that there's no compelling evidence to show that those therapies are effective. "You can't make tissue disappear by putting a little vinegar on it. It just doesn’t work... You really need that to physically be removed."
First, the good news: Skin tags are benign and cause no symptoms. These harmless growths of skin can be right on the skin surface or seem to sprout from a thin stalk of skin and hang off the body. Also called cutaneous tags, soft fibromas, acrochordons, and fibroepithelial polyps, skin tags are mostly flesh-colored growths, although some may be darker in color.
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.
While it is true that skin tags often show up in the armpit or neck creases, the skin-on-skin friction is not what’s to blame. Rather, it’s the creases and skin folds that produce a friendly environment for a virus that may cause some skin tags. According to Ben Johnson, MD, founder of holistic beauty brand Osmosis Skincare, “Viruses are much more commonly spread through contact than people realize, but they don’t find the skin an easy place to survive. Creases improve their chances, and on rare occasions, one makes it into the follicle and infects local skin DNA to create skin tags.”
Mole removal typically takes place in under an hour using a local anesthesia. Larger moles that are excised will require sutures. This treated area may feel a little discomfort, which typically goes away within a few days after the procedure. The skin will scab over and will completely heal within 2-3 weeks with proper application of topical medications.
“My preferred method is snip excision (cutting off the skin tag base with sterile surgical scissors) and cautery of the base to help stop bleeding and reduces the chance of regrowth,” says Dr Yip. “This method allows multiple skin tags to be removed in the one session and is usually scarless. Extensive treatment may need local anaesthetic. Other methods used by dermatologists include cryotherapy (freezing), surgical excision and ablative laser.”
If you want to try it I don’t think it’ll probably harm the skin tags, however. The worst that can happen is you’ll probably get a little red or itchy and inflamed there. So, while I don’t think it’s going to hurt, I don’t think it’s going to help," says Geraghty. She added that you could cause skin irritation and redness with these treatments, without getting results or getting rid of the skin tag.
Skin tags, medically termed as acrochordons or fibroepithelial polyps (FEP), are just a tiny benign bit of flesh that is typically connected to the underlying skin by a thin stalk. Yeah, gross. On the exterior, they look like minuscule bits of “hanging” skin that are typically taller than wide. These growths are seen in approximately half of all people and can form for a variety of reasons. However, they turn up more often during pregnancy, in diabetics, obese individuals, and those that have a family history of skin tags. They are also more common as you age—and men and women suffer them at about the same rate.
Let the doctor cut off your tag's blood supply. With this method, called ligation, your doctor will apply a small band to the base of the tag. This will cut off the blood supply to the upper portion of the tag and cause it to die and fall off your skin. The process can take up to a few days and, depending on the size and location of the tag, may be a bit more painful.
I had a horrible and ugly large size mole on my forehead along the hairline. Every time I combed my hair I would catch it and tear it. I was desperate to get it removed. After consulting a Dermatologist I knew it would be painful and high in cost and probably leave a scar. I started to investigate and found your product. When I got it my expectations were low and I had little hope. I applied it three times a day every day until the bottle was near dry. To my amazement I found that the mole was getting smaller and pealing off! Bravo to you for this life saving product. Thank you so much for making my life and appearance better.... * - Deb
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."
A skin tag, or acrochordon (pl. acrochorda), is a small benign tumor that forms primarily in areas where the skin forms creases (or rubs together), such as the neck, armpit and groin. They may also occur on the face, usually on the eyelids. Perianal skin tags can be associated with Crohn's disease. Acrochorda are generally harmless and painless and usually do not grow or change over time. Though tags up to a half-inch long have been seen, they are typically the size of a grain of rice. The surface of an acrochordon may be smooth or irregular in appearance and is often raised from the surface of the skin on a fleshy stalk called a peduncle. Microscopically, an acrochordon consists of a fibrovascular core, sometimes also with fat cells, covered by an unremarkable epidermis. However, tags may become irritated by shaving, clothing, jewellery or eczema.
Not sure if your skin lesion is actually a wart? Dr Yip explains how to tell the two apart: “A skin tag is usually soft and hangs off the skin with a narrow base. Warts are rough, scaly and raised bumps on the skin surface caused by viruses, therefore they can spread easily to other body areas and may be contagious to others.” If you can’t figure out which one has taken up residence on your body, it’s best to see your GP or dermatologist. Moles can also look similar to skin tags, so when in doubt (as some moles can be cancerous), it’s always best to get them checked by a skin professional.
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:
Except for the cosmetic appearance, skin tags generally cause no physical pain or discomfort. These tiny skin growths generally cause symptoms when they are repeatedly irritated (for example, by the collar or in the groin). Cosmetic reasons are the most common reason for skin tag removal. The following symptoms and signs may necessitate skin tag removal:
I've applied the oil at least 3 dimes daily for the past 2 weeks, but there has been no change in the size of the 5mm mole below my left lower lip nor the 2mm size mole on my right nostril. I have noticed skin peeling from the surface of the moles on a few occasions when I wash my face. And, maybe a slight color change. I plan to keep applying it and see what happens. I'm hoping for the best! * - Emma
Dr Yip notes that while it’s uncommon to experience an infected skin tag, it’s likely they may become red, inflamed and itchy if they're constantly rubbing against clothing and jewellery. “If there is infection, it is usually red, swollen and painful and may have pus discharge and a malodour [an unpleasant odour].” If this occurs, apply an antiseptic cream to mild irritations or see a dermatologist if the pain is more severe.
Lamisil cream is indicated for fungal infections of the skin. Skin tags are benign and not caused by a fungus. If you experience symptoms such as itching, burning, cracking, or scaling of the skin surrounding a skin tag, see your doctor. It is possible you have a fungal infection in the area and a topical medication such as Lamisil help treat it. It will not treat ordinary skin tags, though.
During the one month using this oil, at times I had my doubts. I was using it for a new small round mole near my smile line. I had mild inflammation up to the size of a quarter surrounding the target area. That area peeled constantly, even though I was careful to keep the oil off of it. I had very minor bleeding around 2 1/2 weeks, after washing my face one time, and so the mole then had a scab appearance. Finally at one month it departed. I have a very faint, slightly brown circle at the site, with no pitting or scarring. I would use it again. I liked what I learned about this company, which is why I gave it a try. * - Sharon
I'm happy to say this product worked great on one large brownish raised mole which is the one I most wanted to be gone. PTL! I was faithful in its application as directed to this mole and a couple others that weren't the same in size or color. Unfortunately I still have the others but will continue to apply and see what happens. To me this product was worth it just to get rid of the one big mole without going to the doctors office and having it cut off and have stitches leaving a scar. * - Chandra
Moles are clusters of pigment-producing cells that can appear anywhere on the skin—alone or in groups—as tan, brown, black, or yellowish, skin-toned spots. If you have a mole you want to remove, the safest, most effective way to do it is by consulting with a doctor to have it professionally removed. It's an easy out-patient procedure for benign, noncancerous moles that just takes a few minutes. Attempting to remove a mole on your own can result in scarring, bleeding, infection, and the possibility of missing a cancerous mole. If you really don't want to deal with surgery, try fading the appearance of your mole using an unverified home remedy.
Costs vary from $150 to $1500 per mole. The fee is based on the type of method used and other factors such as the mole size, depth and location. If the mole is noncancerous, the treatment is considered cosmetic and therefore does not qualify with most insurance covers. If cancer is found within the mole, insurance will most likely cover some of the cost of the removal.
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.”