- Best ResultsDIY 1-2 sessions
- Treatment RecoveryNA
- Procedure Time5 to 30 mins
- Skin SpecialistDavin Lim, Dermatologist
- Duration of ResultsVariable - years
- Back to WorkNA
Skin tags are pieces of soft skin that may have a peduncle or stalk. They can appear anywhere on the body, but especially where skin rubs against other skin or clothing. Common locations include the neck, groin & flanks. Most can be treated with DIY home hacks. Read more to find out.
FactsFacts on skin tags
- Tags occur in flexural areas including the neck, underarms, lower breast & groin areas
- Occasional tags can be found on the upper eyelids
- Skin tags are living polyps with their own nerve & blood supply
- The aim of treatment is to compromise the blood supply of tags
- Treatments include excision, chemical peels, cryotherapy & simple ligation
- Read more for DIY hacks to treat skin tags
What are skin tags?
Skin tags are also called acrochordon, cutaneous papilloma, cutaneous tag, fibroepithelial polyp, fibroma molluscum, fibroma pendulum, soft fibroma, and Templeton skin tags. Tags have their own neurovascular supply, namely nerves & vessels. Cut off the blood supply & tags will drop off. More on ‘how to’ below.
Who are prone to skin tags?
Skin tags are more common in:
- People with a high BMI
- Pregnant women
- Patients with high blood pressurePatients with high blood pressure
- People who have high levels IGF1 & hGH hormones
- Insulin resistance (pre-diabetes)
How do dermatologists treat skin tags?
Dermatologists & skincare experts use one of the following methods to treat tags. Treatment depends on the size, location of tags & the patient’s skin type.
- Snip excision: Fastest way. Occasionally local anaesthetic is required.
- Hyfrecator or diathermy with needle tip.
- TCA high strength acid to small tags.
- Shave excision with a scalpel, blade or sharp curette
- Cryotherapy can be effective
- Lasers; are a massive overkill. Hint- walk away if someone wants to laser your tags, simple treatments are better & more cost effective.
Disclaimer: I do not treat skin tags. For removal, please book an appointment with my nurses.
How to treat skin tags on the eyelid?
Discuss if your GP can do it, or a skin cancer doctor. Failing that, consult a medical dermatologist. Usually for tags on the eyelid, most doctors will inject a tiny bit of local anaesthetic prior to removal. This ensures that you won’t suddenly move during the procedure.
Disclaimer: I do not remove skin tags, even on the eyelid. My procedural work is normally confined to an operating theatre. You do not need to go to theatre to remove skin tags.
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What DIY options are there for treating skin tags?
Simple solutions can save you time & money. Exert common sense when treating tags. If in doubt, seek professional advice.
Small tags: The most cost-effective way to remove tags is with a nail clipper. Larger tags can be tied with dental floss. Read ‘how to’ below.
Large tags: Tie them with dental floss. This strangulates the blood supply of tags. After a few days they will turn black & drop off. Plasma pen can be effective.
What is the nail clipper hack for tags- is it effective?
Brilliant hack, yes, if done correctly it is both safe & effective. Here is the tip-
Only treat skin tags away from the eye.
- Ice the area for 15 seconds. This reduces pain.
- Snip with a nail clipper. The base will bleed.
- Apply pressure with a cotton bud.
- Larger tags can be treated this way, control the bleeding with aluminium chloride hexahydrate applied to a cotton bud. Pressure for 90-120 seconds.
What is the toothpaste hack for skin tags?
Toothpaste is good for cleaning teeth. It does not remove skin tags & can potentially irritate the skin. Stick with the nail clipper or dental floss hack, they work.
What is the banana peel hack, & does it work?
Banana peels are high in antioxidants & enzymes. In theory the latter can dissolve a skin tag. The hack involves occluding the banana peel on the affected areas. This will result in a smelly macerated area. It does not work. Stick to the nail clipper & dental floss hack.
What is the apple cider vinegar hack for skin tags?
Soak a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar. Apply to tags, then stick on with a band aid for 20 to 40 minutes. Wash off & repeat till the tags fall off, if they fall off at all. Not a bright idea as you may develop irritant dermatitis. Stick to the nail clipper & floss hack.
What is the dental floss hack for large skin tags?
You can cut off the blood supply of larger skin tags with dental floss or cotton thread. Tie the stalk/base firmly. The tag will turn black & drop off over 2-5 days. Exert some common sense, do not do this if you are on blood thinners.
Bleeding can be encountered if you try to treat large skin tags at home. You will not die from haemorrhage from a tag, see your GP if you cannot control the bleeding with pressure for 20 minutes.
What is the tea tree oil hack for skin tags?
TTO or tea tree oil is an essential oil used for everything ranging from acne, bacteria & fungal infections, as well as skin tags. The hack involves application of TTO then occlusion nightly until the tag falls off; usually 4-8 days.
This is not a good idea as it can potentially sensitise your skin to tea tree, giving you an allergic reaction. Trust me, it is commonly seen. Use the nail clipper & dental floss method– it is quicker, safer, cheaper & more effective than TTO.
What is the skin acid hack for skin tags?
Other options include TCA or salicylic acid, high strength. Apply with a toothpick. Repeat every 2-5 days until the tag goes black & drops off. It is very effective & safe, providing you do not spill acid on the surrounding skin. Ideally protect the skin with Vaseline.
Again, the nail clipper hack is much better than acid application. You have way too much time on your hands if you want to apply acid several times a week.
Can wart kill freezing kits treat skin tags?
Yup, but you don’t need to go to this extent. Cheaper & better with clippers & floss. Cryotherapy is used by many dermatologists to treat tags. Some skill is required. You want to aim the freezing focal point at the base or stalk of the tag. This freezes the blood supply & the tag should drop off over 2-5 days.
Angle the cryotherapy nozzle away from the base of the skin, this way you can reduce the amount of collateral damage to the surrounding skin.
Can a plasma pen treat skin tags?
Plasma pens can be effective. Do a test spot of a few tags, proceed accordingly. Do not be tempted to use plasma for treating wrinkles, you will scar. Nail clippers are far simpler, safer & more effective than plasma.
How to prevent skin tags?
Prevention strategies include reduction of friction. This includes weight loss to reduce frictional forces. Talc powder in flexural areas can help. Removing jewelry rubbing on areas such as the neck can help.
Who to see for larger skin tags?
Larger tags bleed if cut. They contain their own blood supply. In some cases, ligation or freezing the base works well. Giant tags are best treated with excision. Occasionally sutures are required. See your GP or skin cancer GP for treatments. You do not need a dermatologist for this.
Davin’s Viewpoint on Skin tags
Super common condition easily treated. I disagree with the fact that dermatologists should be consulted for tags. Seriously? Too much time on our hands???
Tags are easily treatable by a good aesthetician or dermal therapist. Simple treatments work. In fact, most people do not need to see a skincare professional as DIY treatments, provided one has common sense works. Ice, nail clipper & cotton buds can be found in most household, as can dental floss.
Focal high strength acids applied cautiously is a simple cost-effective option. Your aesthetician may also use a plasma pen; one of the only times I endorse the use of plasma.
My clinical team can treat tags using simple diathermy or pinpoint hyfrecation set at 1.3 to 2.0 watts. Another quick hack is to ice the tag/s, snip with a pair of scissors, then pressure the spot with a cotton bud soaked in aluminium chloride hexahydrate to stop the bleeding. This negates the need for EMLA – numbing cream. Larger polyps are treated with either ligation or simply hyfrecation of the stalk – base. This compromises the blood supply to the tag, resulting in necrosis over a few days. For larger tags, we use local anaesthetic as tags have their own nerve supply, alternative ice can do the trick.
Skin tags on the eyelid require modification to the technique above. Ice application with a snip from a pair of scissors oriented parallel to the canthi can minimise movement & safely treat tags. Another option is to localise the eyelid, then hyfrecator. Lasers are a massive overkill for tags.
Disclaimer: I do not treat skin tags. This includes eyelid or periocular skin tags. Tags located in this area can be treated by cosmetic GPs or GPs with an ‘interest’ in skin-skin cancer. My work is procedural based, you do not require an operating theatre to treat tags.
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