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A Guide to Effective Treatments for Skin Tags

March 27, 2024
Piction Health

Skin tags are a common skin condition that many people experience at some point in their lives. They are harmless, small, and soft growths that hang off the skin. While skin tags are generally harmless, they can be a source of embarrassment or discomfort for some individuals, leading them to seek effective treatment options. In this article, we will explore various treatments for skin tags, including over-the-counter options, medical procedures, and natural remedies.

Understanding Skin Tags: Causes and Symptoms

What are Skin Tags?

Skin tags, medically known as acrochordons, are benign growths that typically appear in areas where skin rubs against skin or clothing. They are most commonly found on the neck, armpits, groin, and under the breasts, but can also occur on the eyelids, face, and other parts of the body. Skin tags are usually flesh-colored or slightly darker and range in size from a tiny pinhead to a few centimeters in diameter. They may appear smooth or wrinkled and often have a stalk-like structure, attaching them to the skin.

When it comes to skin tags, it's important to understand that they are harmless and do not pose any significant health risks. However, they can be a source of cosmetic concern or discomfort, especially if they become irritated or snagged on clothing or jewelry. While skin tags are generally harmless, it's always a good idea to consult a healthcare professional if you have any concerns or if you notice any changes in their appearance.

Common Causes of Skin Tags

The exact cause of skin tags is not fully understood. However, various factors contribute to their development. Friction or repeated rubbing of the skin against skin or clothing is believed to be a significant contributing factor. This explains why skin tags commonly occur in areas where the skin folds or creases. The friction causes the skin cells to grow and multiply, leading to the formation of skin tags.

In addition to friction, hormonal changes can also play a role in the development of skin tags. Pregnant women often experience hormonal fluctuations, which can increase the likelihood of developing skin tags. Similarly, individuals with certain health conditions, such as diabetes and obesity, may be more prone to skin tags due to hormonal imbalances.

While the exact cause of skin tags may not be fully understood, it's important to note that they are not contagious. Skin tags are not caused by viruses or bacteria and cannot be spread from person to person through direct contact.

Recognizing the Symptoms of Skin Tags

Identifying skin tags is usually straightforward due to their characteristic appearance and location. They typically do not cause any specific symptoms or discomfort unless they become irritated or snagged on clothing or jewelry. However, it's important to note that skin tags can vary in size and appearance. Some may be as small as a pinhead, while others can grow to a few centimeters in diameter.

While skin tags are usually flesh-colored or slightly darker, they can also appear slightly reddish if they become irritated. It's crucial to differentiate skin tags from other skin conditions, such as warts or moles, as this may influence the choice of treatment. Unlike moles, which are usually flat and brown, skin tags are typically soft and hang from the skin on a stalk-like structure.

If you notice any changes in the size, shape, color, or texture of a skin tag, or if it becomes painful or bleeds, it's important to seek medical attention. While most skin tags are harmless, any sudden changes should be evaluated by a healthcare professional to rule out any underlying conditions or to determine the best course of treatment.

Over-the-Counter Treatments for Skin Tags

Skin tags are small, benign growths that commonly appear on the skin. While they are harmless, they can be bothersome or unsightly for some individuals. Fortunately, there are several over-the-counter treatments available that can help remove or reduce the appearance of skin tags.

Topical Creams and Ointments

One popular option for treating skin tags is the use of topical creams and ointments. These products are readily available at most pharmacies and drugstores. They often contain ingredients such as salicylic acid or tea tree oil, which have been found to be effective in shrinking skin tags or causing them to fall off over time.

When using topical creams or ointments, it is important to carefully follow the instructions provided with the product. Typically, the affected area is cleaned and dried before the cream or ointment is applied. It is important to apply the product only to the skin tag itself, avoiding the surrounding healthy skin. This helps to minimize any potential irritation or adverse reactions.

It is worth noting that results with topical treatments may vary. Some individuals may see significant improvement in the size and appearance of their skin tags, while others may experience minimal changes. Patience and consistency are key when using these treatments, as it may take several weeks or even months to see noticeable results.

Skin Tag Removal Patches

If you prefer a more convenient and discreet option, skin tag removal patches may be the solution for you. These patches are designed to be applied directly to the skin tags, providing a targeted and controlled treatment method.

Skin tag removal patches often contain a combination of ingredients that work to dissolve the skin tag gradually. The patches are typically left on the skin for a specific period of time, allowing the active ingredients to penetrate the skin and break down the tissue of the skin tag. Over time, the skin tag may shrink in size or completely fall off.

One of the advantages of using skin tag removal patches is their ease of use. They can be applied at any time and can easily be concealed under clothing or bandages. This makes them a popular choice for individuals who prefer a more discreet treatment option.

Liquid Freezing Methods

Liquid freezing methods, such as cryotherapy, are another over-the-counter option for treating skin tags. Cryotherapy involves the application of a freezing agent, usually in the form of a spray or liquid, directly onto the skin tag.

The freezing agent works by causing the tissue of the skin tag to freeze, which ultimately leads to its death and subsequent falling off. Liquid freezing methods are commonly used for wart removal but have also been found to be effective in treating skin tags.

It is important to note that while liquid freezing methods can be effective, they may also have some side effects. Some individuals may experience temporary or permanent skin discoloration in the treated area. Additionally, there may be some discomfort or pain during the freezing process, although this is usually temporary.

Before attempting any liquid freezing method at home, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or pharmacist. They can provide guidance on the proper use of these products and help determine if they are suitable for your specific situation.

In conclusion, over-the-counter treatments for skin tags offer convenient and accessible options for individuals looking to remove or reduce the appearance of these benign growths. From topical creams and ointments to skin tag removal patches and liquid freezing methods, there are a variety of choices available. However, it is important to remember that results may vary, and it is always advisable to follow the instructions provided and seek professional advice if needed.

Medical Procedures for Skin Tag Removal


Cryotherapy, performed by a healthcare professional, involves freezing the skin tag with liquid nitrogen. This procedure causes the skin tag tissue to die and eventually fall off. Cryotherapy is a quick and relatively painless method that may require multiple treatments for complete removal.


Electrosurgery, also known as electrocautery, uses a high-frequency electric current to burn the skin tag off. This procedure requires local anesthesia and is usually performed in a medical setting. Electrosurgery is effective for removing skin tags, but it may leave a small scar or temporary skin discoloration.


Ligation involves tying off the skin tag at its base using a small thread or surgical suture. This cuts off the blood supply to the skin tag, causing it to wither and fall off. Ligation is a relatively simple and safe procedure that can be performed by a healthcare professional.

Natural Remedies for Skin Tag Removal

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is a popular natural remedy for various skin conditions, including skin tags. Its antiseptic and antimicrobial properties may help to dry out the skin tag and promote its shrinking and subsequent detachment from the skin. Tea tree oil should be diluted before applying it to the skin tag to avoid irritation.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is another commonly used natural remedy for skin tags. It is believed to work by causing the skin tag to dry out and fall off. Soaking a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar and applying it to the skin tag several times a day may help in its removal. However, caution should be exercised, as apple cider vinegar can cause skin irritation in some individuals.


Garlic has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties. Applying crushed garlic directly to the skin tag or using garlic extract may help to shrink and remove the skin tag over time. It is important to protect the surrounding skin from contact with garlic to prevent irritation.

While over-the-counter treatments and natural remedies can be effective for some individuals, it is important to consult a healthcare professional, such as those at Piction Health Dermatology Clinic, for the best approach to treat skin tags. Medical procedures, such as cryotherapy and electrosurgery, may be necessary for larger or persistent skin tags. Moreover, Piction Health offers short waits, low costs, and expert doctors to ensure the highest quality care for your skin conditions.