We’ve all been there: we’re looking at ourselves in the mirror one day, and out of nowhere, we spot a pesky skin tag that seemingly popped up overnight. If you’re counting your lucky stars because this hasn’t happened to you yet, just give it time. It will!
And if you find you do have them—hey, me too!—it’s totally understandable to want them gone sooner rather than later. Read on to learn how to remove skin tags at home without the inconvenience, pain, and expensive price tag of a doctor’s visit.
What are skin tags?
Skin tags are fleshy little bumps that are often found in areas of friction, like the neck, underarms, thighs, and sometimes even on the eyelids. But they can technically appear anywhere. While they’re often considered just a cosmetic issue, they can become a painful nuisance when constantly rubbing against clothes or getting caught on jewelry. Sometimes they’re even known to bleed when the irritation becomes too much.
While they’re definitely annoying, skin tags aren’t really a medical emergency, nor do they require a dermatologist’s magical touch to make ’em go away. Your doctor will likely recommend freezing them off with liquid nitrogen or removing them with sterile scissors. But if you’d prefer to skip the trip, there are a lot of home remedies for skin tags that may help reduce their size or may even clear them up.
It may not be as quick as a visit to the doctor, but these home remedies are inexpensive, natural, and only require a trip to your kitchen.
Note: You should never use home remedies to treat skin tags near the mouth or genitals or if they’re very large, itchy, or painful. In some cases, other types of skin disorders (like malignant cancers) can look like skin tags. If you’re not sure, it’s best to pay a visit to your doctor before trying any of these home remedies for skin tags.
How to Remove Skin Tags
It takes time and patience to treat skin tags at home. If you don’t see changes after a few weeks, it’s best to try a different remedy or ask your doctor to take a look.
Baking soda is one of the gentler home remedies for skin tags. It works by drying out the skin, thus shrinking it slowly over time.
To use, mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda with enough water to create a thick, smooth paste. Apply the paste to the skin tag two to three times a day. Leave it in place for as long as possible, covering it with a bandage if necessary.
You should start seeing improvement within a couple of weeks, but if you don’t, it’s best to talk to your doctor or switch to one of the remedies below.
Tea tree essential oil
Tea tree is one of my favorite oils for treating all sorts of skin issues, not just skin tags. It’s thought that because tea tree oil has a dehydrating effect [source], it might also work for skin tags.
Soak a cotton ball in tea tree essential oil, and place it on top of the skin tag. Secure it with a bandage, and let it sit overnight. Repeat nightly until the tag falls off.
This remedy should be used with caution, as tea tree oil may irritate sensitive skin. Never use it for skin tags located around the eyes, mouth, or on sensitive areas.
Garlic is said to be great for skin, thanks to its strong antioxidants [source] that confer anti-aging and anti-inflammatory effects. To remove skin tags, place a small slice of fresh garlic on the skin tag and cover it with a bandage overnight. Rinse the area in the morning and repeat every evening until the skin tag disappears.
Assuming you don’t want to go to work every day with garlic taped to your neck, you can reap a lot of the same benefits by using undiluted garlic essential oil. Apply a drop of the garlic oil directly to skin tags 2 to 3 times a day until they disappear. If you’re worried about the smell, try mixing it with other essential oils that don’t cause skin irritation or wear natural perfume to mask it. Just stick with a total of 9 to 10 drops of essential oil for each tablespoon of carrier oil.
This post was medically reviewed by Dr. Rina Mary Allawh, M.D., a dermatologist who practices adult and pediatric medical dermatology, skin cancer treatment, and cosmetic dermatology. Learn more about Hello Glow’s medical reviewers here. As always, this is not personal medical advice, and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.101