While skin tags are common, they’re rarely wanted and are something many people try to get rid of using home remedies. They can vary in colour and size and can be found anywhere from the neck, armpits and breasts, to the groin, buttocks, eye lids and skin folds.
In many cases, they’re harmless and develop for no reason at all. According to the NHS, skin tags grow in the folds of the skin, particularly in areas where skin rubs against itself.
Although they don’t typically cause suffering, pain or discomfort, they can be embarrassing – particularly if they form in highly visible areas of the body such as the face or neck. There are plenty of ways to get rid of skin tags, but unfortunately, not all treatments work the same. One form of treatment to be weary of is home remedies.
“There are number of home remedies suggested for skin tags, and while safe, most of them are not very effective,” Foundation Fellow at the University of Australia Dr Zlatko Kopecki told Starts at 60. “All of these remedies work on principle of drying the skin tag so it falls off.”
Common home remedies include tea tree oil, apple cider vinegar or even tying a piece of string around a tag until it falls off.
“Some even suggest garlic, although I wouldn’t try that,” Kopecki said.
Similar to home remedies, there are also a number of over-the-counter products available.
“My advice would be to see a local GP,” Kopecki said. “As incorrect use can cause inflammation or burn sensation to surrounding normal skin, while incorrect removal can lead to bleeding and creation of a wound.”
If a skin tag is professionally removed, there are a number of ways a GP or health professional can go about it. The first is cauterization, where heat is used to remove the growth from the body. According to Kopecki, this process isn’t used as commonly as other procedures.
Surgery is another option, where the skin tag is simply snipped at the base. Depending on where the skin tag is on the body and the size, this option may not be available.
“The most common and effective way is cryosurgery, which can be done by local GP,” Kopecki said.
This process uses extreme cold, usually from liquid nitrogen, to freeze the skin tag off. If concerned about a skin tag, it is always recommended to chat to a GP before undertaking home remedies or over-the-counter products. This will ensure the correct treatment option is offered to prevent the possibility of unnecessary injury.