Should you use at-home skin tag remedies?

Advanced Dermatology, PC Blog Should you use at-home skin tag remedies?

A skin tag is a small, soft-hanging piece of skin that many people often find on their bodies. Typically, they’re harmless and skin-colored with a range of sizes from the diameter of a pinhead to as large as five centimeters! The best way to get rid of a skin tag is to have your dermatologist remove it in a medical setting, but oftentimes people turn to home remedies to avoid a doctor’s visit. Today, we’re going to take a look at some of the most popular ones, and how safe they are – or aren’t.

“Natural” Remedies

The first category of skin tag remedies you may find online involves a natural substance, usually one you might have in the kitchen, and a band-aid. Most commonly this will be apple cider vinegar, and sometimes coconut oil – some of them even involve honey, banana peels, or baking soda. A cotton ball is soaked in the substance and applied to the skin tag, then replaced every few hours.

These remedies have limited effectiveness, and if they work, it may take several weeks or many months for you to see results. While not particularly unsafe, these remedies are messy and ineffective, and won’t provide the relief you’re looking for.

Over the Counter Remedies

At the grocery or drug store, you might see a few over-the-counter remedies for skin tags, but these are only slightly more reliable. They come in three categories: cryotherapy kits that freeze the tag away, ligation bands that cut off the tag’s blood supply, and patches placed over the tag that contain medicine intended to remove the tag.

Cryotherapy kits may work, but there’s no guarantee that they will reach the right temperature to remove the tag, and ligation bands and patches simply may not work at all. Worst of all, these remedies all run the risk of irritating the skin around the tag and may leave you needing a trip to the dermatologist anyway.

At-Home Removal

As a last resort, you may be tempted to remove a skin tag with something sharp, like nail clippers or a very sharp pair of scissors. There are even some sources that suggest tying it off with dental floss. Needless to say, please don’t attempt to remove your skin tag with a sharp object at home! Skin tags may contain blood vessels, and you could accidentally hurt yourself worse than you intend, and leave yourself vulnerable to infection.

Sydney Karp, MMS advice banner

How are skin tags removed by a dermatologist?

Skin tags are removed in a few different ways. Some of the most popular methods include cryotherapy, which uses liquid nitrogen to freeze the tag away, excision, which is removing it with a scalpel, or electrodesiccation, which uses electric current to burn it off. Depending on the size of the tag, you may need local anesthesia, but don’t worry – these procedures typically have a very low risk of complications and little recovery time.

Getting your skin tags removed at the dermatologist is safer, less painful than home removal, and many times more effective. Most importantly of all, you’ll have the assurance that it was done correctly. If you still have questions, we’d love to help you out. We have dermatologist offices in four states: New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. We would love for you to book an appointment with us today.

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