The Safest Ways To Remove Skin Tags

Though completely harmless, the benign growths known as skin tags can be annoying when they turn up unexpectedly on your face or body. But with nearly half of all adults having skin tags, you're not alone (via Medical News Today). Skin tags may fall away on their own after some time, but there are also numerous ways to remove them if they persist.

Most experts recommend having a dermatologist professionally remove your skin tag, as attempting to remove large skin tags yourself can result in skin irritation, according to Harvard Health Publishing. Dermatologists may use cryotherapy to freeze off the skin tag with liquid nitrogen, electrocautery to burn off the skin tag, or scissors and a scalpel to remove the skin tag. However, there are a few at-home remedies for skin tags that have been proven to work in the past. Harvard emphasizes that evidence to support DIY skin tag removal is largely anecdotal, but trialing these methods at home isn't likely to cause serious harm when carried out carefully. While skin tags around the eyes or on the face should be left to a dermatologist's care, you can try the following removal strategies on other areas of your body.

Skin tag removal band

One of the most common methods of skin tag removal at home is with a skin tag removal band. Skin tag banding kits include a thread that you tie around the base of the tag to cut off the blood supply (via Cryotag). This chemical-free option works in sensitive areas (not including around the eyes), but can be fiddly and is not appropriate for those with a rubber allergy.

A similar alternative treatment is cryotherapy, which you can also achieve at home with a DIY kit. Freezing the tag like this usually results in the tag falling off more quickly; however, the process is not appropriate for those who have had skin cancer or blood circulation conditions or for those under 18 years of age.

Banana peel

According to Healthline, banana peels may be an effective option for removing a skin tag. Simply save a banana peel and place it over the skin tag that you'd like to remove, then secure in place with a bandage and leave it overnight.

Some posit that it may be the antioxidants and the enzymes in the banana peel that cause it to fall off (via Miss Malini). If you don't see results at first, repeat the process for a few nights. Ensure that the inside part of the banana skin is coming into contact with your skin.

Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil has been hailed as a natural remedy for a long list of dermatological ailments, from acne to skin tags. Simply apply a small amount of tea tree oil to your skin tag, cover it with a bandage, and keep it on overnight, repeating the process for several days (via Medicine Net).

Loving Essential Oils explains that tea tree oil works by drying the skin, which causes the skin tag to fall off. However, keep in mind that tea tree oil may cause redness or irritation in some people. It should also never be ingested as even small doses are toxic.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is another antioxidant that can help a skin tag to fall off (via Health Canal). Advanced Dermatology and Skin Cancer Associates explains that vitamin E similarly works by drying up the skin surrounding the tag, which can cause it to fall off on its own. The process usually takes a couple of weeks and is best carried out with vitamin E oil. Vitamin E has a range of other benefits for the skin, too, including minimizing the appearance of wrinkles and fending against free radicals in the skin.

Raw garlic

An ingredient that most people already have in their kitchen, raw garlic has antibacterial properties and is another natural tool that can help you to remove a skin tag. Crush a fresh garlic clove and apply it to the skin tag before covering it with a bandage and leaving overnight (via Precision Surgery and Advanced Vein Therapy). This can lead the tag to shrink and eventually disappear. points out that garlic also has anti-inflammatory properties which will further reduce the appearance of the skin tag. While in many cases it's best to have a dermatologist remove your skin tag, these DIY methods have been known to work on skin tags in non-sensitive areas of the body.