Skin Tag, with its scientific name achrochordon, can be defined as benign, non-cancerous skin growth. This hanging skin growth, the simplest term that can be used for skin tags, is also known by other names including cutaneous papilloma, cutaneous tag, fibro epithelial polyp, fibroma molluscum, fibroma pendulum, papilloma colli, soft fibroma, and Templeton skin tag. Most of the times, skin tags are harmless and painless too.
Skin tags are composed of nerve cells, fat cells, core of ducts and fibers, covered with epidermis. They generally form on such body parts where there are creases on skin. These places generally include eyelids, armpits (axillae), under the breasts, groin, upper chest and neck. The color of skin tags may range from brownish flesh-colored skin bits to dark pigmented skin. Their size also vary. Diameter of some of the skin tags may appear as small as 2.5 mm to some others that may acquire a size of grape (1 cm in diameter) or even as big as 5 cm in diameter.
People who suffer from obesity or overweight, diabetics and pregnant women are prone to have skin tags. Sometimes heredity is also a cause for skin tags. Skin tags equally affect males and females.
Causes of skin tags:
Skin tags are caused by bunches of collagen and blood vessels that get trapped inside thicker bits of skin. They usually affect middle aged people.
One of the major causes for skin tags is the rubbing of skin against skin. If you are prone to skin tags, there are chances of skin tags to appear where there are folds and creases such as your armpits, neck etc.
If we talk about risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing skin tags, there are many of them. Obese or overweight people, as we mentioned earlier, have more risk of developing skin tags because they seem to have more skin folds and creases. Altered hormonal secretion is also a cause for skin tags. Pregnant women are at risk due to the changes in hormones that are secreted into their bodies. People with diabetes are also susceptible to skin tags. Those who use steroids are also prone to have skin tags. Steroid causes bonding of collagen fibers in your skin which in turn forms skin tags.
A study conducted by the National Institutes of health, USA states that as much as 46 percent people suffer from skin tags, mostly due to heredity.
Skin Tags Symptoms:
The most common symptom of skin tags is skin growth. The growth is generally very small in diameter, sometimes it may vary up to 5cm in diameter in a worst case.
Skin tag sometimes have a narrow stalk (peduncle), commonly occurred in folds and creases, like armpits, lower portion of breasts in women, upper chest part, groins etc. They are smooth to appear, fleshy brownish in color and irregular shape. They mostly form in groups on the skin which can be stuck when shaving, rubbed by a cloth or by jewelry.
Treatment options for skin tags:
Usually skin tags are not harmful. However, most of the people want to get rid of them for cosmetic and aesthetic reasons. It is desirable to remove large ones as they frequently cause irritation when rubbed with cloth or something on body like jewelery etc. Removing large skin tags from face or armpit makes it comfortable for you to shave without having fear of bursting it.
Procedures that are used to remove skin tags:
- Cauterization- It refers to burning off skin tag using electrolysis. In this process, electric current is used to apply heat. This heat removes the skin tag by burning it off. It is called Cauterization
- Cryosurgery- In this process called cryosurgery, liquid nitrogen is used to freeze off the skin tag using a probe, a blunt-ended surgical instrument.
- Ligation- The process of ligation refers to binding something together for interrupting the blood supply to the skin tag. For example, in rubber band ligation, a small band is tied to the base of the skin tag which stops its blood supply.
- Excision- Excision literally means cutting off. In this process, the skin tag is removed by cutting it off using a scalpel.
The above procedures should always be done by a trained medical professional or a dermatologist.
Natural Home Remedies to Remove Skin Tags
Skin tags may start appearing on your body anytime. The older you get, the more susceptible you are to these skin tags. Generally, skin tags are benign tumors and are harmless. However, they don’t look good and also are uncomfortable to deal with. As such, it is always desirable to remove these skin tags as soon as possible. As they get larger and older, skin tags get more stubborn. To get rid of these skin tags, you may like to follow some home remedies.
This article throws further light on some useful information regarding home remedies to remove skin tags. Various surveys and researches have shown skin tags to be generally non-threatening which can be removed or treated while sitting at home too.
However, before applying these home remedies, it is always advisable that you check for the skin tendency in terms of the color changes that these skin tags bring to your skin growths. They may be mildly colored just like your original skin color or a little more brownish. Sometimes, they can be deep pigmented, even purple or blackish. In case they appear mild and of the same color as your skin or even a little brownish, then the suggested treatments give below can be undertaken.
Below are given some of the herbal treatments for skin tags. The advantage of herbal remedies is that they are less invasive and the disadvantage, if you think so, is that they may take a little more time to remove your skin tags. Some of the below remedies are not herbal and can be categorized as simple home remedies for skin tags like those using duct tape or nail polish that are conventionally thought to be good home treatments for skin tags.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil helps you control and cure many skin disorders, including skin tags and moles. In order to use this remedy, clean the skin tag and take a cotton ball soaked in water. Add 3 drops of tea tree oil to the soaked cotton ball. Now apply it directly to the skin tag in circular motions. Repeat this 1-2 times daily for a week or 10 days until the lesion vanishes.
Castor oil can be used both internally and externally. It can be used as an external ointment by mixing it with a little baking soda to make a paste. You can also add some citrus oil to the paste as it will be very stinky. Apply this paste on the affected area and use a band aid to cover it. Repeat this for 2 – 4 weeks or until the skin tag disappears.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is very effective in removing skin tags. Apply a small dab of vinegar on cotton ball or a q-tip and apply it on the skin tag. After you apply vinegar, it may cause a stinging sensation for a few minutes. Use it for two to four weeks for the skin tags to vanish.
Lemon juice contains citric acid which helps decompose the cells in the skin tags. Dab some lemon juice onto a cotton ball and apply it directly on the skin tag. Leave it on the affected area till it dries off. You will notice some changes in the skin tags after applying lemon juice for few days. In due course of time, the skin tag will dry out and vanish. Just have patience and apply this remedy daily.
Banana peel is a good remedy for skin tags. To use it, cut the banana peel into small pieces. Put the peel on the affected area and hold it securely with a bandage. Take care that the inside of the peel comes in contact with the affected skin area. Let it rest overnight and repeat this process daily until the skin tag falls off.
Another method to get rid of skin tags is the dental floss. It can be used on any body part. In order to get rid of skin tag, use this dental floss to tie a knot tightly around the base of the skin tag close to your body. After a period of 2 – 3 weeks, the skin tags will become smaller and disappear in due course. This method helps in killing the skin tag by blocking blood flow to the affected area.
Slice onion into small pieces and soak it in a container with salt overnight. Now extract juice from this soaked onion-salt mixture. In the evening, apply this onion juice on the affected area or skin tag and cover it. Leave it overnight. Rinse if off in the morning with warm water. Continue this process every night for a week.
Pineapple is a good remedy to get rid of skin tags. Apply pineapple juice on the affected area twice or thrice each day for 7 to 10 days without rinsing it off. This makes the skin tag fade away gradually.
Crush some garlic cloves and extract their juice. Apply this garlic juice onto the affected area and cover it with a band. Take care that you change the band and the garlic juice at least thrice a day.
Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe vera is good for any skin condition. Massage it onto your skin daily. Apply the aloe vera juice directly on the skin tag. Because of its ability to heal any kind of skin disorder, aloe vera is used as a main ingredient in many skin care products. To make it a more effective skin tag remedy, make a paste using black walnut hull and aloe vera gel. It will remove the skin tag faster.
In cryotherapy, as discussed earlier too, the lesion is frozen off. Compressed air in a tin also has a same effect as that of cryotherapy. After 1 – 2 applications of compressed air the skin tag will change its color and will fade off eventually.
This method has downside too. As it may result in freezing, this may damage the surrounding tissues and lead to breakage of skin cells.
Cover the lesion completely with nail polish and leave it on until it gets dry. Repeating the same procedure for 2 – 3 times using fresh paint daily will make the tag fade off in due course.
Duct tape applied on the skin tag for 7 days will help the skin tag drop off while removing the tape. This method is usually used in mole removal, and is an effective natural home remedy for removal of warts too.
Some consider this to be the best treatment for removing skin tags. You need to rub the vitamin E oil on to the lesion two times a day. This will help you remove the skin tags in 1 – 2 weeks. Combine vitamin E oil with garlic and let it rest overnight for better results.
Rub slices of raw ginger on the affected area for about 2 weeks and the skin tag is supposed to fall off eventually.
Fenugreek is an amazing herb that contains powerful antioxidants. The properties of fenugreek seeds help in skin tag removal. Soak fenugreek seeds overnight in water and drink this water in the morning before having breakfast. You can even chew the soaked fenugreek seeds. This herb also helps you in avoiding anemia or thyroid conditions, but do not consume more than 1-2 tsp each day.
You can remove skin tags with scissors or nail clippers but it may cause bleeding and infection. For this reason, you should sterilize the clippers and surrounding area of the skin tag with isopropyl. Now make the skin numb with an ice cube. Pull the skin tag away and cut it off with clippers. Now press it firmly with a sterilized gauze pad until bleeding ceases. Once the bleeding stops, apply an antibiotic.
These were some of the herbal treatments, which help you in getting rid of skin tags. Have patience for a couple of weeks so that you can naturally treat the skin tags with simple home remedies.