What Are Skin Tag Patches?

An Over-the-Counter Product for Removing Skin Tags at Home

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Skin tag patches are an over-the-counter product that claims to easily remove skin tags at home. Skin tags are small growths on the surface of your skin and can occur as you age. While they are usually harmless and don’t need to be removed, skin tags can be bothersome and get caught on clothing or jewelry.

For those looking to get rid of their skin tags on their own, skin tag patches offer a quick, at-home remedy. But are they safe?

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What Are Skin Tag Patches?

Skin tag patches are small patches that contain medication or herbal remedies. Once you apply the patch to your skin tag, the product should be absorbed by the growth and cause it to fall off. While this sounds like a convenient treatment, it is not recommended.

Skin tags usually grow in skin folds like under the arms, in the neck, on the eyelids, or in the groin. Depending on the location of your skin tag, it may be difficult to safely adhere a patch and observe for any side effects.

Your dermatologist has several safer options for removing skin tags in the office. Some methods for skin tag removal include cryotherapy (freezing), cutting the growth with surgical scissors, cauterizing the tag, and ligation (tying the tag off with clean surgical thread). While skin tag patches claim to be cheaper and less painful, they have not been proven to be effective.

What Are Natural and Homeopathic Patches?

Many skin tag patches on the market have the words, “natural” or “homeopathic” on the labels. It’s helpful to remember that these products are not evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) like medications are. Companies can allude to health benefits of their products without having to back them up with research evidence.

Homeopathic products usually source their ingredients from plants, animals, vitamins, and minerals. Any product can claim to be homeopathic, and they do not have to prove that they are safe or effective to be sold to consumers.

Types

There are a few different types of skin tag patches, including both medication and homeopathic remedies. The patches are available over-the-counter and carried by most pharmacies or online retailers.

Essential Oils

Skin tag patches labeled as homeopathic usually contain a combination of essential oils like tea tree oil, cedar leaf oil, and castor oil. The active ingredient is usually Thuja Occidentalis Leafy Twig.

These ingredients have not been proven to remove skin tags. Many people usually assume that all natural products are safe, but it is still a wise idea to discuss them with your doctor.

Salicylic Acid 

Another type of skin tag patch contains salicylic acid. You may have heard of this ingredient in acne medication or other skincare products. It helps your skin shed dead cells and works as an exfoliant.

These types of patches claim to both dry and shrink the skin tag until it falls off. Because salicylic acid works to remove skin cells, it can cause redness, irritation, burning, peeling and dryness.

Pressure 

Finally, there are skin tag patches that don’t contain medication, but work to apply pressure to the skin tag. By applying pressure to the base of the tag, it can help cut off blood supply, resulting in the skin tag falling off. 

Benefits

Skin tag patch companies tout the convenience and lower cost of treating your skin tags at home. They also promise to remove tags without the scars and blistering that can sometimes occur with other removal methods. 

A study of 32 people with skin tags found that participants who tried a skin tag removal patch had minimal discomfort and excellent appearance after the procedure. The patches were most effective for smaller skin tags, about 1 millimeter in diameter.  

It’s helpful to remember that the potential benefits do not outweigh the serious risks of removing your own skin tags. Hopefully, there will be more large scale studies in the future to better understand the risks and benefits of patches. 

Risks

Home remedies for removing skin tags sound convenient but come with serious risks. 

It Might Not Be a Skin Tag

The American Academy of Dermatology Association strongly recommends seeing a doctor before removing your own skin tags. Some growths on the skin can look like tags but are really warts or skin cancer.

If you accidentally remove a cancerous growth, the remaining cancer cells could spread and cause much more damage. Removing a possibly cancerous growth at home will also prolong needed treatment. Skin cancer is very treatable when caught early, so check in with your doctor before trying any at-home treatments.

This is especially important if you notice a difference in the appearance of your skin tag. Once formed, skin tags usually do not change their shape, size, or color, so changes could be a sign of cancer. 

Potentially Dangerous Ingredients

Because natural skin tag patch products do not need to prove that they’re safe, we don’t know all of the risks. Some of the ingredients in skin tag patches are known to cause skin irritation and redness.

Many natural patches contain tea tree oil, which has been found to cause allergic reactions of the skin. Patches containing salicylic acid can cause skin irritation, redness, and burning pain. The safest choice is always talking with your dermatologist. 

Is Removal Worth the Risk?

Skin tags are small, benign growths on the surface of the skin and don’t pose any health risk. Any removal method comes with possible side effects like scarring or infection. It’s important to consider if removal is truly worth the risks. Talk with your doctor about your individual risks and the safest removal procedures. 

Word From Verywell

You may be feeling eager to remove your skin tags as soon as possible, but a visit to the dermatologist is a much safer option than picking up a skin tag patch at your local pharmacy. Get any possible skin tags checked out and make a plan with your doctor for removing them. 

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Article Sources
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