How to Remove Skin Tags

Tanya Sharma
Reviewed by Terri Forehand RN
woman getting a wart or skin tag removed by a doctor

Few people know how to remove skin tags - in fact, few people are usually aware that they actually have skin tags in the first place. Skin tags are small, soft and flesh-colored. These growths are typically found hanging from the skin's surface by a stalk, and they are generally easily moveable. They are commonly found in skin folds, on the neck, in the armpits and on the back and the abdomen.

Removing Skin Tags

Although skin tags can't be prevented, they are easily removable. Figuring out how to remove skin tags is as simple as deciding which method works best for you. A variety of methods exist, including surgical and natural, at-home remedies. The following is a detailed list of skin tag removal methods:

Cutting Method

The National Health Service suggests a simple cutting method. Consider utilizing the assistance of a friend or relative before undergoing this form of treatment. You will need the following items:

  • A mild cleanser. A gentle soap, like Dial or a liquid cleanser, like Cetaphil, is suitable.
  • Sharp, sterilized scissors.
  • Sterilized forceps (easily found online or at medical supply stores).

The following steps must then be followed:

  1. Cleanse the skin thoroughly.
  2. Carefully and gently grasp the apex of the skin tag with forceps.
  3. At a point level with the normal skin, cut the skin tag at its base.
  4. Apply consistent pressure to the skin to control bleeding.

Bloodroot Remedy

Bloodroot is a woodland herb found in the north central United States and in British Columbia, Canada. Taken internally, the herb's red juice is poisonous, but it is renowned as a remedy for skin tag removal when applied externally. Important points to remember:

  • Bloodroot can be damaging to healthy tissue. Therefore, make sure you only apply it to those areas that need treating.
  • Do not apply bloodroot to the eyelids, genitals, lips or nose.
  • Do not apply bloodroot if you are pregnant.
  • Bloodroot is for external use only.

How to remove skin tags with bloodroot:

  1. Apply the bloodroot paste directly to the skin tag.
  2. Cover with a bandage, checking intermittently, until the skin tag has fallen off.

Bloodroot paste can be purchased from alternative health stores such as Alpha Omega Labs or Lucky Vitamin.

Cut Off the Blood Supply

Cutting off the blood supply to the skin tag is one of the more common at-home methods used. In order to do this, simply tie a piece of string (a piece of dental floss is ideal) tightly around the base of the skin tag. After a few days, the skin tag will fall off on its own.

Surgical Removal

Though the idea of undergoing surgery is enough to send anyone into a panic, it doesn't apply to skin tag removal in the classical sense of the word. Skin tags are easily removed in the doctor's office. The doctor will consider one of several methods:

  1. Cryosurgery: The skin tag is frozen off with liquid nitrogen. This procedure generally involves some pain, as the sensation of liquid nitrogen touching the skin is unnatural and exceptionally cold.
  2. Laser surgery: The cells of the skin tag are destroyed with a laser. As with cryosurgery, this procedure also involves some pain.
  3. Cutting: Cutting a skin tag off begins with a local anesthesia. Once the area is numb, the doctor slices the skin tag away and stops the blood flow to the tag. A doctor may use a scalpel or a pair of sharp surgical shears to remove the tag.

Over-the-Counter Removers

A wide variety of over-the-counter skin tag removers exist. A few of the more popular brands include:

  • Dermisil: The Dermisil W skin treatment is applied topically and is used for a wide variety of minor skin maladies.

Skin Tag Frequency

Skin tags are extremely common. They are found in women more than men, and their rate of occurrence seems to increase with age. Obese people are more susceptible to skin tags, possibly because of the increased likelihood of skin folds being rubbed together. A hereditary factor has also been cited in determining the likelihood of experiencing skin tags: if one or both of your parents have or had them, it is likely that you will, too.

When to Remove Skin Tags

Skin tags may be a nuisance, but in most cases they are harmless. Doctors may recommend that a skin tag be surgically removed is if it is in highly vascular area that may bleed, and if the skin tag is growing and at risk for being accidently torn which would lead to bleeding and infection. Doctors may also suggest removal if they cause discomfort or pose a cosmetic problem (this is generally the case if the skin tag is especially visible).

Regardless of which method is chosen to remove skin tags, watch the site carefully for signs of infection. If any appear, seek medical treatment.

How to Remove Skin Tags