How to Remove Skin Tags at Home: Safe Remedies & Tips

Skin tags are a common skin condition that can appear on any body part. They are harmless, but many people find them unsightly and want to eliminate them. If you have skin tags and would like to remove them at home, there are several methods you can try.

In this post, we'll discuss how to get rid of skin tags naturally or by using over-the-counter products at home.

What Are Skin Tags and Their Signs and Symptoms?

Skin tags, also known as acrochordons or fibroepithelial polyps, are small, benign growths that typically form in areas where the skin folds or rubs against itself. These areas can include the neck, armpits, groin, eyelids and under the breasts.

Skin tags are primarily composed of several different types of cells and tissues. The outer layer or epidermis, is usually of normal thickness or slightly thinner than the surrounding skin. Beneath the epidermis lies the dermis, which contains collagen and elastin fibers. These fibers are crucial in providing structure, flexibility and strength to the skin tag. Inside the skin tag, you'll find a core made up of collagen fibers and blood vessels. Some skin tags may also contain nerve cells and fat cells.

Signs of skin tags include:

  • Appearance. Skin tags are usually flesh-colored or slightly brownish. They often appear as small, soft bumps that hang from the skin by a thin stalk, making them look like a hanging mole. They can start small and grow to be several millimeters in diameter.
  • Location. Skin tags tend to develop in areas where the skin folds or rubs against clothing or jewelry. This includes the neck, armpits, eyelids, under the breasts and the groin area.
  • Discomfort. While skin tags are generally painless, they can become irritated if they're rubbed by clothing, jewelry or other skin. When this happens, they may bleed or become sore. Some people may also find their skin tags bothersome if caught on clothing or jewelry.

Why Do Skin Tags Form?


The most common theory suggests that skin tags develop due to friction from parts of the skin rubbing against each other. This is why they often occur in skin folds or areas of the body where skin rubs against clothing or jewelry. The friction causes the skin to thicken in these areas, eventually forming a skin tag.


Skin tags are more common in older adults, suggesting they might be part of the natural aging process. As skin ages, it loses elasticity, which could contribute to the formation of skin tags.

Hormonal Changes

Hormonal imbalances or changes may also play a role in developing skin tags. For example, they often appear during pregnancy, possibly due to hormonal changes or increased friction as the body grows and changes shape.


Some people may be genetically predisposed to developing skin tags.


Obesity can lead to increased skin folds and friction, which may increase the risk of developing skin tags.

How to: Skin Tag Removal at Home Tips

As mentioned, while skin tags are harmless and usually don't require treatment, some people may wish to remove them for cosmetic reasons or if they become irritated. It's always best to have a healthcare professional remove skin tags, but if you choose to try removing them at home, here are some ways:

Over-the-Counter Products

Several over-the-counter products are available for skin tag removal, often in the form of creams, patches or freezing kits. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions when using these products.

Tag Bands

These are small bands that you can place around the base of the skin tag. The band cuts off the blood supply to the skin tag, causing it to fall off after several days.

Tea Tree Oil

Some people believe applying tea tree oil to skin tags over time can help them dry out and fall off. However, this method is not scientifically proven, and tea tree oil can cause skin irritation in some people.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Like tea tree oil, some people claim that apple cider vinegar can help remove skin tags. The idea is to soak a cotton ball in the vinegar, apply it to the skin tag, and then cover it with a bandage. This should be done several times a day. Again, this method isn't backed by scientific evidence and can cause skin irritation.

Banana Peel

Some people have reported successfully removing skin tags by rubbing the inside of a banana peel into the affected area. The enzymes in the peel are believed to help dry out and remove the skin tag, maybe due to their antioxidant properties.

Vitamin E

Another method some people use is applying vitamin E oil to the skin tag daily. Vitamin E is thought to help shrink and dry out skin tags over time.


Another natural remedy for skin tag removal is garlic. Many believe that applying crushed garlic to the skin tag and covering it with a bandage can help remove it. However, there is no scientific evidence to support this method.

Liquid Iodine

There is anecdotal evidence that liquid iodine can be used at home for skin tag removal. The type of iodine you should consider using is called povidone-iodine, which is an over-the-counter topical iodine. It's believed to work by breaking down skin cells. To use it, you could apply a drop on the skin tag twice a day.

Note that there is little research to support the effectiveness of at-home methods for skin tag removal, so it's always best to consult with your healthcare provider before attempting any method.

What to Avoid in Using Skin Tag Removal Methods at Home

While using home remedies for skin tag removal, there are several things that you should avoid to prevent complications or discomfort:

  • Avoid Cutting. Never attempt to cut off a skin tag yourself using nail clippers or any sharp instrument. This can lead to bleeding, infection and scarring.
  • Avoid Harsh Chemicals. Be cautious with harsh chemical products like salicylic acid. While salicylic acid is a common ingredient in acne medication and other skincare products, it's not generally advised for skin tags. There's a risk that it could irritate your skin or cause contact dermatitis, especially if you have sensitive skin.
  • Avoid Tight Clothing. Choose loose-fitting clothes to avoid irritating the skin tag.
  • Avoid Using Unproven Remedies. Some home remedies, like applying lemon juice or pineapple juice, are not scientifically proven and may cause skin irritation.
  • Avoid Neglecting Aftercare. Proper aftercare is crucial to avoid infection and promote healing if a skin tag is removed. Don't use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol, which can slow healing. Applying petroleum jelly while the skin heals can help prevent or reduce scarring.
  • Avoid DIY if Large or Painful. If your skin growth is large, painful or located in a sensitive area, do not attempt to remove it at home. Instead, seek medical advice.

When to See a Doctor

While most skin tags are harmless, there are times when you should see a doctor for evaluation and treatment. These include:

  • Discomfort or Irritation. If a skin tag is causing discomfort or irritation, especially if it's in an area where it's frequently rubbed by clothing or jewelry, it may be best to have it professionally removed.
  • Aesthetic Concerns. While there's no medical need to remove skin tags, some people may choose to have them removed for cosmetic reasons.
  • Change in Appearance. If the fleshy growth changes in color, size or shape, a professional must check it out. While skin tags are generally not cancerous, appearance changes could indicate a more serious condition like skin cancer.
  • Location. Skin tags in sensitive areas, such as around the eyes or genitals, should always be removed by a healthcare professional to avoid complications.
  • Size. Larger skin tags are best removed by a professional to prevent excessive bleeding and reduce the risk of infection.

Why You Should Have Your Skin Tags Removed by a Plastic Surgeon

While there are various home remedies and over-the-counter treatments available, there are several reasons why you may want to consider having your skin tags removed by a plastic surgeon:

  • Expertise and Experience. Plastic surgeons are highly trained and experienced in minor surgeries, including skin tag removal. They know how to safely remove these growths while minimizing the risk of complications like infection or scarring.
  • Proper Equipment. Plastic surgeons have access to professional-grade medical equipment, which can ensure a safe and effective removal process. This is particularly important for larger skin tags or those located in sensitive areas.
  • Minimal Discomfort. Most skin tag removal procedures performed by a plastic surgeon are quick and cause minimal discomfort. The area around the skin tag is usually numbed with a local anesthetic before the procedure.
  • Cosmetic Results. Plastic surgeons are experts in cosmetic procedures, meaning they can remove skin tags while preserving the appearance of your skin. This can be particularly beneficial if the skin tag is in a visible location.
  • Post-Procedure Care. After the removal, a plastic surgeon can provide appropriate aftercare instructions to help prevent infection and promote healing.

How Do Plastic Surgeons Remove Skin Tags?

Plastic surgeons use several methods to remove skin tags, depending on various factors like the size, location and number of skin tags:

  • Cauterization. This method involves using a small amount of heat from a specialized tool or laser to burn off the skin tag quickly. It's a quick procedure that typically does not harm the surrounding skin.
  • Surgical Removal. Your surgeon may opt to numb the area and use sterile surgical scissors or a blade to cut off the skin tag. After removal, a solution is applied to stop any minor bleeding.
  • Cryotherapy. In this method, your physician uses liquid nitrogen to remove the skin tag. This is a commonly used method for skin tag removal.
  • Ligation. Also called skin tag removal band, this involves tying off the skin tag at its base with surgical thread, to reduce blood flow and cause it to fall off.
  • Electrosurgery. A high-frequency electric current is passed through the skin tag to burn it off.
  • Excision. For larger skin tags, your surgeon might choose to cut out the skin tag using a scalpel.

These procedures are usually quick, often lasting under 30 minutes, and most skin tags are small enough that they don't require anesthesia. However, the area is typically numbed for comfort during the procedure.

Let The Minor Surgery Center Handle Your Skin Tag Removal Procedure

If you're considering removing a skin tag or benign skin growths, it's best to consult with a healthcare professional for the safest and most effective method.

At The Minor Surgery Center, our experienced plastic surgeons in Toronto can safely and effectively remove your skin tags without leaving scars or causing discomfort. We have been performing this procedure for years, making us an expert in skin tag removal in Toronto.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment!


March 28, 2024