A skin tag or acrochordon is a small gentle tumour that forms primarily in areas where the skin forms creases or rub together such as the neck, armpit and groin. They may also occur on the face, usually on the eyelids. 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.
Skin tags are also a common side effect of pregnancy. This may be due to pregnancy hormones and weight gain. In rare cases, multiple skin tags can be a sign of a hormone imbalance or an endocrine problem.
Skin tags aren’t contagious. There may be a genetic connection. It isn’t unusual for multiple family members to have them.
Skin tags are thought to occur from the skin since they are so often found in skin creases and folds.
While. skin tags require no treatment and may fall away on their own, medical removal is available. A doctor may recommend this for skin tags that catch on clothing or otherwise cause pain
A person may also want skin tags to be removed for cosmetic reasons, especially when they are on highly visible areas, such as the face.
How to identify a skin tag
The main way to identify a skin tag is by the peduncle. Unlike moles and some other skin growths, skin tags hang off the skin by this small stalk.
Most skin tags are tiny, typically smaller than 2 millimetres in size. Some can grow as large as several centimetres. Skin tags are soft to the touch. They may be smooth and round, or they may be wrinkly and asymmetrical. Some skin tags are threadlike and resemble grains of rice.
Skin tags may be flesh-coloured. They can also be darker than the surrounding skin due to hyperpigmentation. If a skin tag becomes twisted, it may turn black due to a lack of blood flow.
Home remedies for skin tag removal
Skin tags don’t usually require treatment or a visit to the doctor. If you choose to remove a tag, it’s possible to do so with products already in your medicine cabinet or kitchen. Most at-home remedies involve drying out the skin tag until it shrinks in size and falls off.
1. Skin tag removal cream
Kits containing cream and an applicator are available. Usually, only one application of the cream is necessary.
Instructions to some kits recommend cleaning the skin with an alcohol wipe and filing down the tag before applying the cream, to ensure that it is fully absorbed.
The cream may cause a mild stinging sensation. Tags should fall off within 2 to 3 weeks.
2. Freezing kit
Using a product containing liquid nitrogen can freeze off skin tags. These products are often available in drugstores and pharmacies. Follow instructions, several applications may be necessary before a growth falls away but this usually occurs within 10 days.
The spray should not come in contact with the surrounding skin. A person may want to apply petroleum jelly to the area around the tag for protection.
3. Banana peel
Don’t toss away your old banana peels, especially if you have a skin tag. The peel of a banana can also help dry out a skin tag. Place a piece of banana peel over the tag and cover it with a bandage. Do this nightly until the tag falls off.
4. Apple cider vinegar
Little research has been conducted on the effectiveness of apple cider vinegar for skin tag removal.
People often soak a cotton ball in the vinegar and affix it to the tag with a bandage for 10 minutes two or three times a day, until the tag falls away.
Watch for skin irritation and discontinue use if any adverse reactions are experienced. Do not use this method around the eyes.
Garlic has anti-ageing benefits and helps improve the appearance of skin by reducing inflammation. To get rid of a skin tag naturally, apply crushed garlic over the tag, and then cover the area with a bandage overnight. Wash the area in the morning and repeat until the skin tag shrinks and disappears.
6. Vitamin E
Ageing may contribute to skin tags. Since vitamin E is an antioxidant that fights wrinkles and keeps the skin healthy, applying liquid vitamin E over a skin tag may cause the growth to vanishing in a couple of days. Simply massage the oil over the tag and the surrounding skin.
7. Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil, which has antiviral antifungal properties, is safe to use on the skin. First, wash the affected area, then use a cotton swab, and gently massage the oil all over the skin tag. Place a bandage over the area overnight. Repeat this treatment for several nights until the tag dries out and falls off the skin.
Some people try to achieve ligation with a piece of dental floss or string. It can be tricky to do this without the help of a device or another person. When the flow of blood has been cut off for at least a few days, the tag should fall away. It may be necessary to tighten the string or floss every day. Before using this method, clean the skin, string, and hands thoroughly to prevent infection.
9. A tag removal device
A person uses the device to cut off the supply of blood to the base of the tag with a tiny band. The medical community refers to this process as ligation. Without a supply of blood, the cells will die, and the tag will drop away, usually within 10 days.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that a person can use liquid iodine to remove skin tags.
First, protect the surrounding skin by applying petroleum jelly or coconut oil to the area. Soak a Q-tip in iodine and spread the liquid across the tag. Cover the area with a bandage until the iodine has dried.
Repeat this treatment twice a day until the tag drops off.
Skin tag removal kits are available for purchase online and in many stores. A person may also want skin tags to be removed for cosmetic reasons, especially when they are on highly visible areas, such as the face.