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Dr Simon Zokaie BSc MBChB MRCP
Linia Skin Clinic

How to Remove Skin Tags (and Why Getting Rid at Home is a Bad Idea)

29th December 2020 Skin Tags

Do you have skin tags? Then you will already know the problems associated with having these protruding little growths of (often) darker fleshy skin and are looking for ways to get rid of your skin tags.

Whether it’s the fact you suffer from self-confidence and self-esteem issues from having skin tags in a visible area (or invisible area that people are likely to see during intimacy, like groin folds or other skin folds that are normally covered) or because your skin tags catch on your jewellery and clothing, you probably think about how to remove them often.

We completely sympathise with you. You probably have heard of skin tag removal surgery, but are understandably nervous about the idea.

However, before you rush into trying various skin tag removal methods by yourself, please take a look at this post. Here we are going to discuss the various methods of skin tag removal there are, the pitfalls to look out for and which methods are best for you.

If you’re ready to get rid of your skin tags once and for all, BOOK NOW for a consultation with a Linia Skin dermatologist

close up of skin tag

Are skin tag removal home remedies worth trying?

There are some over-the-counter skin tag removal patches and bands (which we discuss later) but if these don’t appeal, there are various other do-it-yourself options. Are any of these effective or safe? We’ve taken a look at some of the most popular ways of removing skin tags by yourself and given our opinion on them.

Removing Skin Tags With Nail Polish

One of the most popular ways people remove skin tags is with nail polish. You probably have an idea of what’s involved even if you’ve never read about it before, but it involves coating the skin tag in nail polish, to suffocate it and kill it off.

While it may seem cost-effective (it’s something you already have at home) and safe (you use nail polish all the time, so why would it be unsafe?), your doctor will offer stern advice against doing it.

It is not skin-safe, even if nail polish and nail polish remover are nail-safe. There is also the fact there are blood vessels in skin tags, so any removal should take place in a sterile and properly sanitised environment (more on that later).

Skin Tag Removal Using Toothpaste

Yet another popular way to remove a skin tag at home is with toothpaste. Whether this is effective or not, remains to be seen. It does however come with rather unpleasant side effects.

The menthol in many toothpaste recipes can be rather toxic for the skin and result in unwanted skin reactions, especially if you suffer from sensitive skin.

Furthermore, leaving toothpaste on your skin for any length of time could make it flaky and dry.

Apple Cider Vinegar to Get Rid of Skin Tags

Another popular method of skin tag removal by people looking to avoid help from doctors or other medical professionals is apple cider vinegar.

This involves dipping and fully saturating a cotton ball with apple cider vinegar and then using a bandage to secure the cotton ball in place over the skin tag.

Each time you need to leave the bandage and cotton ball in place for up to 10 minutes and then repeat it 2 or even 3 times a day until there is no skin tag.

One of the major problems with removing skin tags this way is apple cider vinegar can irritate. As it is highly acidic, vinegar can even cause chemical burns.

Other popular home remedies for removing skin tags

  • using tea tree oil
  • nightly vitamin E anti-ageing creme
  • banana peels
  • garlic
  • cutting it off using scissors/nail clippers (PLEASE don’t do this!)
  • Skin tag removal devices or various products claiming to remove them

Home remedies range from mildly effective for a small skin tag to being extremely dangerous if patients end up trying to cut them out themselves. Besides the obvious physical harm this can cause, it can be worse still if a patient mistakes a more dangerous condition for a skin tag, making your situation potentially much worse.

Ideally, have a qualified Doctor or dermatologist, like ours at Linia Skin Clinic, examine the skin tag to be safe.

Do over-the-counter skin tag removal patches or bands work?

One of the most popular methods of removing a skin tag that people try at home is using skin tag removal patches or bands. Patches contain special medication that if left on for long enough, can help remove the skin tag.

Getting rid of a skin tag using a band involves cutting off the blood supply at the base of the growth. The theory is that without blood flow, its cells will die off and then the skin tag will drop off. Another name for this type of process is ligation.

Are they effective though?

There seems to be a lot of evidence to suggest that rather than being foolproof, they are hit and miss and just as many people, and probably more, do not experience positive results using patches or bands as those who do. Reviews are mixed on the various products available.

Again, you also run the risk of using a product on a skin tag which you have analysed incorrectly. This can be dangerous and is also likely why some reviews are unhappy with the efficacy of the products they’ve used.

How to get rid of skin tags properly

dermatologist checking skin tag or mole on females back

While some of the methods above work to some degree, others are less effective. Regardless of how effective or not they are, it is best to seek medical advice and either get help from your family doctor or a cosmetic surgeon to remove your skin tags. Why?

It’s safer, and more effective, and there is less chance of infections occurring.

There are three main methods of removing skin tags professionals use:


This is also known as electrocautery and involves the use of an electric current to burn off the base of skin tags. Not only does this remove the skin tag, but seals the wound in the process, preventing unnecessary bleeding and infection.


As you are probably thinking to yourself, yes this is the skin tag removal method that involves freezing it using liquid nitrogen.

This works the same way as it does when used to remove warts. You are unlikely to have access to liquid nitrogen at home and because it can burn, it should be left to the experts.


When you have skin tags that have stems or stalks known as pedunculated skin tags, these can be removed using either a pair of sterile surgical scissors or a sharp scalpel.

Now a lot of people think because doctors can remove skin tags using scissors, they can do it at home. There are important factors to remember:

  • The doctor is a professional who is fully qualified and experienced at working with all kinds of unwanted skin growth, including skin tags
  • The scissors used to remove skin tags are very sharp and designed for surgical procedures
  • The scissors are kept clean and sterile to a medical standard
  • If you accidentally remove moles or something else you think is a skin tag, you could cause yourself much more harm than good. You can get moles checked by a professional or take a look at our guide on how you can do a mole check if you’re unsure.

As skin tags have blood vessels, you will want to avoid using nail clippers, scissors or any other methods that could cause uncontrollable bleeding. Please do not try to take the treatment of skin tags by excision into your own hands.

When you consider that some skin tags are found in skin folds and around the groin area too, do you want to try your luck with removing them?

If you want to get rid of unattractive and irritating skin tags, avoid the possible problems, infections and other issues related to doing it yourself at home and speak to a professional at Linia who has experience working with skin growths and has the most up-to-date skin tag treatment methods.

While the price of treatment might be a little higher, you have the peace of mind that it’s safer and that you’re in the hands of a professional who will assess and get rid of the skin tag properly.

Ready to say goodbye to your skin tags? BOOK NOW for a consultation with an experienced and friendly Linia Skin dermatologist

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