The FDA Would Like to Remind You It Has Not Approved Any Skin Tag Removers

dark brown skin tag

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Key Takeaways

  • The FDA is warning some companies to remove skin tag and mole removers for sale on their websites.
  • The agency stresses it has not granted approval to these products.
  • Doctors say it’s important to have skin tags and moles removed by a professional.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning to select companies that are selling mole and skin tag removal products. The FDA shared in a press announcement that these products are in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

“There are no FDA-approved over-the-counter drug products for the removal of moles and skin tags,” the agency said in the release.

The warning letters were issued to, Ariella Naturals, and Justified Laboratories. Mole and skin tag removal products sold by these companies have not been FDA-evaluated for safety, effectiveness, or quality.

The FDA also said that it has issued a consumer warning that noted products marketed for removing moles and other skin lesions can cause injuries and scarring.

“The sale of these products risks public health and may jeopardize consumers’ health when used without consulting a health care professional,” the release said.

If you have a mole or skin tag, what is the safest way to remove them, if you choose to? Here’s what you need to know.

Can You Remove a Mole or Skin Tag at Home?

While it can be tempting to skip a dermatologist visit to remove a skin tag or mole, it’s not recommended.

“Removing skin tags at home can be a bad idea for a few reasons, the most serious being that what you may think is a skin tag may not be one,” Cindy Wassef, MD, assistant professor at the Rutgers Center for Dermatology, told Verywell. “I have seen patients come in for what they believe are skin tags, but closer examination has revealed attached ticks, birthmarks, seborrheic keratoses (benign growths) and even skin cancer.”

If a skin tag growth doesn’t look “completely classic,” as Wassef describes it, physicians will likely send a sample to a pathologist for examination under the microscope. If you remove it at home, that won’t be possible.

She says the same holds true for moles.

“Any removal needs to be done in a dermatologist’s office so the mole can be properly examined and make sure it’s not a skin cancer,” Wassef said. “Moles develop at deeper layers of skin, and products claiming to removal moles will not go deep enough to remove it. It will likely just cause significant irritation and pain.”

Risks of At-Home Removal

In addition to potential pain, removing a skin growth at home may have a few repercussions.

"Some home removal methods involve snipping [skin tags] off, which leaves open skin where bacteria can get in,” Ife J. Rodney, MD, founding director of Eternal Dermatology + Aesthetics, told Verywell, explaining this can lead to infection.

Larger skin tags also “have a rich vascular supply,” which could lead to bleeding if they’re cut off, she said.

How Removal Should Work

Doctors say it’s really best to see a dermatologist for any type of mole or skin tag removal.

“Skin tags can be removed either by clean removal with a forceps and special scissors, or frozen off with liquid nitrogen,” Wassef said. “If the skin tag looks suspicious in any way, we have the option to send it in to the lab for further examination after removal with a forceps and scissors.”

Mole removal “usually requires either a biopsy or a small surgical procedure with stitches to completely remove it,” she said.

Ultimately, doctors recommend consulting a medical provider if you have a skin tag or mole that you’d like removed.

“Leave it to the professionals,” Rodney said.

What This Means For You

While you may see mole and skin tag removal tools for sale online, these are not FDA-regulated. If you have a mole or skin tag you want removed, it’s really best to see a dermatologist for help.

By Korin Miller
Korin Miller is a health and lifestyle journalist who has been published in The Washington Post, Prevention, SELF, Women's Health, The Bump, and Yahoo, among other outlets.