Skin tags are soft, noncancerous growths that usually form within the skin folds of the neck, armpits, breasts, groin area, and eyelids. These growths are loose collagen fibers that become lodged inside thicker areas of the skin.
It’s unclear exactly what causes skin tags, but they may develop from friction or skin rubbing against skin.
Skin tags are also extremely common, affecting almost half of the population, Kemunto Mokaya, MD, tells Healthline. They’re also more common among older adults, people with overweight, and people with diabetes, she says.
These skin lesions are usually harmless, but they can be painful when snagged by jewelry or clothing. If these growths are bothersome, relief is available.
Here’s a look at a few home remedies, over-the-counter products, and surgical options to get rid of skin tags.
Home remedies for skin tags
Skin tags don’t usually require treatment or a visit to the doctor. If you choose to remove a tag, it may be possible to do so with products already in your medicine cabinet or kitchen.
Most at-home remedies involve drying out the skin tag until it shrinks in size and falls off.
Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil, which has antiviral and antifungal properties, is safe to use on the skin.
First, wash the affected area. Then, using a Q-tip or cotton swab, gently massage the oil over the skin tag. Place a bandage over the area overnight.
Repeat this treatment for several nights until the tag dries out and falls off.
Don’t toss away your old banana peels, especially if you have a skin tag. The peel of a banana can also help dry out a skin tag.
Place a piece of banana peel over the tag and cover it with a bandage. Do this nightly until the tag falls off.
Apple cider vinegar
Soak a cotton swab in apple cider vinegar, and then place the cotton swab over the skin tag. Wrap the section in a bandage for 15 to 30 minutes, and then wash the skin. Repeat daily for a couple of weeks.
The acidity of apple cider vinegar breaks down the tissue surrounding the skin tag, causing it to fall off.
Aging may contribute to skin tags. Since vitamin E is an antioxidant that fights wrinkles and keeps the skin healthy, applying liquid vitamin E over a skin tag may cause the growth to vanish in a couple of days.
Simply massage the oil over the tag and surrounding skin until it falls off.
Garlic helps improve the appearance of skin by reducing inflammation. To naturally get rid of a skin tag, apply crushed garlic over the tag, and then cover the area with a bandage overnight.
Wash the area in the morning. Repeat until the skin tag shrinks and disappears.