Can I Remove Skin Tags at Home?

There are many risks associated with at-home skin tag removal

If you are wondering how to remove skin tags—or acrochordons—at home, the answer don’t. Complications can occur when removing skin tags at home, so it’s important to let a dermatologist examine skin tags to ensure they are not a type of growth that is more serious (such as those that have the potential to be cancerous).

Skin tags are typically benign growths that are harmless, and approximately 50% of adults in the United States are estimated to have at least one. While skin tag removal is an option, there often is not a medical reason to remove them.

how to remove skin tags at home

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Reasons to Remove Skin Tags

Skin tags do not usually cause discomfort, but sometimes they can be bothersome. Reasons someone may want to remove skin tags include:

  • They can get caught on clothing or jewelry.
  • They can sometimes bleed.
  • Aesthetics

Insurance Coverage for Skin Tag Removal

If you do decide to have a professional remove your skin tags, the fees charged are usually an out-of-pocket expense because the procedure is considered cosmetic and is not covered by insurance (unless the problem is impacting a person’s physical or mental health).

A healthcare provider should be consulted before skin tags are removed, to ensure that the lesion is not a form of skin cancer.

At-Home Methods and Claims

There are many different claims for over-the-counter and other at-home methods of skin tag removal, including:

  • Using toothpaste (skin tag removal toothpaste): There is no evidence from medical studies proving that toothpaste works to remove skin tags safely or effectively.
  • Skin tag removal bands: These employ a method called ligation. The band is wrapped around the stem of the skin tag to cut off the blood supply. This causes the lesion’s cells to die. Then the skin tag can be easily twisted or pulled off. Ligation is sometimes performed by a dermatologist, but it is not recommended for at-home skin tag removal.
  • A skin tag patch: This is a type of medication that is supposed to cause the skin tag to fall off when the patch is removed. Experts warn that this type of removal is not highly effective and often causes irritation to the surrounding skin.
  • Skin tag removal cream: This contains tea tree oil and salicylic acid. These ingredients may irritate the skin and cause a type of dermatitis (inflammation of the skin) called contact dermatitis (caused by direct contact with an irritant).
  • Freezing applications: These utilize various types of chemicals that lower the temperature of the skin tag to destroy the unwanted skin tissue. However, the temperature attained from over-the-counter freezing kits is not as low as dermatologists recommend. At-home freezing kits may take several applications before they are effective. Dermatologists use liquid nitrogen freezing applications that attain a much lower temperature for optimal effectiveness in a clinical setting. 
  • Application of apple cider vinegar: This is typically done by soaking a cotton ball in the vinegar and placing it over the skin tag with a small bandage. It is said to take two weeks for the method to work, but there is not sufficient scientific evidence to back these claims.
  • Tea tree oil application: This typically involves applying the essential oil to a cotton ball, placing it over the skin tag, and securing it with a small bandage for a specific amount of time. The tea tree oil is reapplied several times a day until the skin tag falls off. This method is said to take up to several weeks to work, depending on the size and location of the tag. Experts report that some people have allergic skin reactions to tea tree oil.

Do Not Cut or Clip a Skin Tag Off at Home

Using nail clippers or a sharp instrument to cut skin tags is not recommended, particularly with larger tags that may involve bleeding and could result in infection. In a clinical setting, instruments are sterilized, and skin is properly sanitized to lower the chance of infection. 

Risks of at-Home Removal

While you may be tempted to attempt at-home removal of your skin tags, there are risks including:

  • Infection
  • Scarring
  • Excessive bleeding

If you are certain you would like to remove skin tags, it is important to speak with a dermatologist to review your safer options.

How to Get Rid of Skin Tags Dermatologically

Types of Procedures

In a clinical setting, skin tags are removed for comfort or cosmetic reasons. Methods of professionally removing skin tags include:

  • Excision with scalpel or scissors: This involves the use of a sterile technique to cut the skin tag off. Generally, only smaller skin tags are removed by excision and the blade used by a healthcare professional is much sharper than clippers or scissors used at home. A chemical compound may be applied after the excision to reduce bleeding.
  • Cauterization (burning): This procedure utilizes an electrical probe or needle that produces an electric current to burn the skin tag off at its base. This method also seals the wound to prevent infection and bleeding after the procedure is complete. 
  • Cryosurgery (freezing): This involves freezing off the skin tag with liquid nitrogen. This method takes approximately 10 days for the tag to fall off. Liquid nitrogen causes a burning sensation. Note, the chemicals used in a clinical setting usually produce a much lower temperature than those involved in over-the-counter freezing applications.

A Word From Verywell

If you have skin tags you’d like removed, do not attempt to remove them yourself. Schedule an appointment with a dermatologist to review safer ways to go about skin tag removal.

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Article Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. Skin tags.

  2. MedlinePlus. Skin tag. Updated April 2, 2021.

  3. The American Academy of Dermatology. 5 reasons to see a dermatologist for mole, skin tag removal.

  4. Harvard Health Publishing. Skin tag removal: optional but effective. Updated March 23, 2020. 

  5. The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center. Which skin tag removal methods work? Updated August 7, 2019.