Skin tags, also known as fibroepithelial polyps or acrochordon, are small dark brown or flesh-colored outgrowths of skin that typically develop at the site of skinfolds, in areas such as the neck, beneath the breasts, and around the eyelids. Most skin tags are painless and harmless, though individuals may be bothered by their appearance. Several at-home remedies can reduce the appearance of these growths, though they are of varying effectiveness and safety. Over the counter products and minor surgeries are also available to remove skin tags.
Garlic is rich in sulfur compounds that can help dry out skin tags. Cut a slice out of a peeled garlic clove and place it on the growth, securing it in place with a bandage or medical tape. Leave it on the skin overnight. Repeat this process with fresh garlic every night until the skin tag shrinks or falls off.
The stems of dandelions contain a milky liquid that is a common folk remedy for warts. Some herbalists believe dandelion milk is also effective against skin tags. Squeeze the stem of a dandelion (one that has not been sprayed with pesticides) to extract the liquid and apply it to the skin tag. Cover the area with a bandaid. Repeat the procedure up to four times a day until the skin tag comes off with the bandage.
Tea Tree Essential Oil
Tea tree essential oil has powerful astringent properties that can help dry out and eventually break down skin tags. Using a cotton bud or swab, apply a small amount of the tea tree essential oil onto the skin tag, taking care to avoid the surrounding skin. Assuming no irritation develops, reapply the oil regularly until the skin tag dries up, which can take up to a month.
People have been using banana peels to get rid of skin tags and warts for centuries, though the scientific reason behind its effectiveness is still unknown. Place the inside of a small piece of banana peel on the skin and adhere it in place. Apply a new piece of banana peel every day until the tag disappears. This method usually requires three to four weeks.
Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe vera contains many medical and health benefits, though for the plant extract to work on skin tags one must use the pure gel from the plant; bottled gels do not appear to have the same effect. Rub a small quantity of the extract on the skin tag twice a day, and the growth should disappear within a couple of weeks.
Tablet of Aspirin
An aspirin tablet can help get rid of skin tags. Dissolve the tab in a quarter cup of water, then soak a cotton ball in the mixture and dab it on the tag. Cover the skin tag with a bandage. Acetylsalicylic acid, a derivative of salicylic acid, in the mixture may cause the skin tag to fade.
Baking Soda and Castor Oil
Forming a thick paste of castor oil and baking soda in a bowl and applying this mixture to a skin tag can naturally remove the growth. Like the other methods, place a bandage over the area after the poultice is in place, and reapply each morning. Experts believe this method works by absorbing moisture out of the skin tag and should take effect in two to four weeks.
Applying oregano oil to the affected area can help get rid of skin tags. Before using this oil, however, spread almond or coconut oil onto the surrounding skin to create a barrier against the concentrated extract, which can cause irritation and redness. Dab this oil directly on the tag, twice a day. Small tags may fall off in a few days. For larger tags, other options should be considered because oregano oil can cause serious skin irritations if used for more than four or five consecutive days.
Apple Cider Vinegar
The acid in apple cider vinegar can dissolve skin tags. First, clean the area with a mild face wash. Dip a cotton pad large enough to cover the skin tag in the vinegar, squeeze off the excess, and cover the affected area. Secure the pad in place with an adhesive bandage and leave it on overnight. Remove the bandage in the morning and continue the process until the tag falls off.
Nail polish can promote water evaporation, drying skin tags until they fall off. Applying the polish to the area with a clean cotton swab morning and night can dry out the skin tags and make them fall off. However, most nail polishes are toxic and medical professionals do not suggest placing this product on the skin.