Skin tags are very common. And whether you’ve had them since you were a young lady or are just noticing them now, you don’t have to live with them if you don’t want to. Here’s the scoop on skin tags, how and why they grow, and the easiest and safest ways to remove them permanently.
While men and women are not equal, it turns out they’re right on par with skin tags: each is just as likely to get them. And while they’re not the prettiest to look at, they’re not a cause of concern.
Disclosure: I’m like you and want to save a penny when I can. But when it comes to my health (and giving you advice for yours), it’s always best to talk to a professional doctor and dermatologist if you’re not sure exactly what you’re dealing with. Additionally, if you have a skin tag that’s giving you grief, please make an appointment with yours to look at it – it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Skin tags, or acrochordons, are fibroepithelial polyps or soft fibromas made from loose collagen fiber, fat, and blood vessels. Ranging in size from 2 to 5 millimeters, they’re caused when skin rubs against itself, aka skin folds. They’re more common in overweight women and men, but on average, 50% of us will get at least one in our lifetime. They occur most commonly in the armpits, groin, around the neck, or on the eyelids.
As we age, we’re more likely to get them, and those with Type 2 Diabetes have a higher chance of seeing them on their bodies. But the good news about skin tags is they don’t affect your health and are always benign (noncancerous), so while you may wrinkle your nose at the sight of them, you can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that they’re no more than teeny skin growths.
If you’re not interested in taking a trip to your dermatologist to have them removed, there are several ways to remove them at home with inexpensive products (including tying thread or dental floss around them and waiting for them to fall off – my husband’s method of choice). Here are the top ones to check out.
Maybe a little too much detail about me, but I actually happened upon skin tag cream at my local bin store and bought it (don’t know what a bin store is? Look for ones near you to save a ton!) because I have a couple right where my necklaces sit around my neck and the back of my head. It was a happy accident as I was just starting to research skin tag removal.
There are several on the market, and the main ingredients tend to be salicylic acid and/or tea tree oil. You apply the cream directly to the skin tag daily as directed and wait for the active ingredients to do their magic. This method usually takes two or three weeks for the skin tags to fall off.
Similar to at-home wart removal, freezing off skin tags is as easy as snapping a large, cotton swab-style applicator until the treatment medicine fills the tip and applying it to the skin tag. The liquid essentially freezes the area and causes it to fall off within a few days to a couple of weeks.
This is probably the easiest way to remove skin tags, as plenty of us have apple cider vinegar in our cabinet. Essentially, you use a cotton ball dipped in the vinegar and apply it to the skin tag for 15-30 minutes each day until they fall off. When the time’s up, wash and dry the area thoroughly because the vinegar can cause skin irritation. You’ll need to do this for two or three weeks before you see a change.
The acid in the apple cider vinegar breaks down the tougher skin around and in the skin tag, causing it to fall off.
Again, another trip into my brain, but this essentially reminds me of castration. You take small copper clips and clamp one to the skin tag. The clip restricts blood flow and causes the tag to fall off in two or three days.
But why copper, you ask? The metal has a natural antibacterial property. If this is your removal route of choice, make sure to thoroughly wash both the area of the skin and the clips for sanitation purposes.
In my opinion, the most invasive of at-home skin tag removal treatments, plasma pens use light current to remove the skin layers, and different intensity levels may be used depending on size.
With a “painless to moderately painful” scale of use, if you’re sensitive, go ahead and apply a numbing cream to the area before you use the pen. Healing usually occurs within a week, so it’s less of a time suck than some of the other methods.
Again, playing the mom card here, but please don’t use a plasma pen on a mole. While the pen seems like an efficient way to remove moles, it makes more sense to see a dermatologist for removal, as many have roots and may grow back without proper treatment.
Note: In some rare cases, skin tags can be a sign of a serious hormonal medical condition. Diseases like polycystic ovary syndrome or acromegaly have been attributed to multiple skin tags, so please be safe and let your medical doctor know about them at your next appointment.