Skin tags are small growths or flaps of skin which are usually found around the neck, eyes, underarms, breasts, or groin.
Thought to be caused by friction, skin irritation, obesity, and even genetics, these growths – which affect one in four people – are harmless. However, many people find them annoying, while others would like them gone for cosmetic reasons.
While you can visit your doctor to have skin tags burned off, cut off, or frozen off, at-home methods are usually much gentler, and more cost-effective.
Here are 8 home remedies to remove skin tags with minimal effort:
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
This incredibly versatile fermented vinegar is both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, making it a great choice for removing skin tags.
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.
2. 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), such as this bottle of Jason Vitamin E Oil.
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.
3. 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 (such as this bottle of Plant Therapy 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.
4. Oil of Oregano
Oregano oil is a fantastic anti-fungal which can offer relief from several skin conditions, including skin tags.
Make a homemade oil of oregano by allowing fresh oregano to infuse with olive oil for several weeks, before straining. Alternatively, dilute oregano essential oil with a carrier oil like jojoba, or sweet almond.
Apply this oil directly to your skin tag three times a day. Allow to air-dry before covering with a dressing or bandage. Repeat this process daily until the skin tag dries out and falls off.
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.
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.
7. Dandelion Juice
Although many see dandelions as pesky garden weeds, they have so many health benefits and uses.
Dandelions may be effective at removing skin tags because of their rich vitamin and mineral content, which may help to break down and remove excess skin tissue.
Harvest fresh dandelion by pulling the plant from the ground, and squeezing the root gently to extract its milky sap. Apply three drops to the skin tag three times per day. The tag should be completely gone with just four weeks of continuous application.
8. Coconut Oil
There are so many reasons to put this tropical oil on your skin.
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. You can read more on best essential oils for skin tags
What Not To Do
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.