How to Remove Skin Tags Naturally, and What to Do to Prevent Them
If you’re reading this article, chances are you or someone you know has some of those annoying, fleshy growths that shoot out of the skin, which aren’t exactly pretty, and which almost one-half of all men and women will have at some point in their lives. Maybe you have just one, or maybe you have a lot.
To start, we should clear up a common misconception about skin tags (medical name: acrochordons; also fibroepithelial polyps or cutaneous papillomas). Some people fear that these are pre-cancerous growths. However, in most instances, that is not the case. The only time you should worry about a skin tag is when it grows fast, when its colors change or when it bleeds (without having been irritated by clothing, jewelry and so forth). If you see one such skin tag on yourself or on your child, you should talk to a doctor right away.
Otherwise, skin tags are just growths that many people simply don’t want on their skins. There is no medical reason to remove them, although people often do, for cosmetic reasons. They tend to occur as we reach middle age, although even infants can get them.
What Causes Skin Tags?
If you google the topic, you will find that many websites, and most conventional medical doctors, state that skin tags can be genetic, hormone-related, may be caused by clothes or skin rubbing on skin, but are not caused by bacteria or fungi.
However, some of us disagree that bacteria and / or fungi are not involved. One strong clue that these microorganisms are indeed the culprits is that skin tags tend to appear in parts of the body where bacteria and fungi tend to accumulate at a greater rate than in most other bodily parts. Further, obesity promotes the growth of skin tags. This is clearly because people who carry a lot of excess weight also have many skin folds, where bacteria and fungi do accumulate, and where tags often grow.
The most common places for skin tags to develop in all people who have them, according to various medical sites, are the neck, upper chest, under the armpits, under women’s breasts, in the groin, in the anal region and on the back. Some people also have them on their faces and on the eyelids.
We can see that these are all places where more germs will gather, even when we do a good job of cleansing and exfoliating our skin in the shower.
Their growth on the upper chest could be explained by the ongoing migration of bacteria from our mouths, eyes and noses, as gravity pulls the microorganisms down when we walk, stand or sit throughout the day. Growths on the back could be explained by the fact that the back is hard to reach when we’re in the shower or tub, so, we don’t scrub skin germs off the back as well as we scrub them from other areas.
So, exfoliating your skin in the shower daily with a natural sponge or washcloth will help prevent skin tags from getting out of hand; for the face, a good daily exfoliating regime will go a long way toward preventing facial skin tags.
You don’t have to buy any expensive (and usually, chemical-laden) face washes to do this. Simply, after you’ve washed your face in the shower and are out of the shower, invert a bottle of rubbing alcohol on a “triple size” cotton ball for a second, then run cotton ball under warm-to-hot tap water, one to two seconds on each side. This will greatly dilute the alcohol content on the ball and distribute it. Next, apply firm, gentle strokes on your nose bridge, tip, sides of the nose, sides of your mouth, forehead, eyebrows, between the eyebrows, cheeks and crease of the chin. Switch sides of cotton ball mid-way through this process, or even better, peel off a thin layer of cotton, to reveal unused cotton, and use the fresh layer as you exfoliate a new section of your face. Continue peeling off layers of cotton until you’ve done your whole face. Follow up procedure with a gentle, rich moisturizer, to prevent facial skin from drying out.
Changing your bedding and pillow cases often (a coupe of times a week) will also help keep tags from forming on your face and body.
Encouraging Skin Tags to Fall Off (without Having Them Surgically Removed)
The above regimen, with the cotton ball and diluted alcohol, is also a good way to encourage skin tags on your neck and elsewhere to disappear. Cover the tags with a clean ball with alcohol, and gently move ball up and down over tag just a tad, to make sure you apply alcohol around the base of the tag. Do this for a stretch of days in a row.
Some people like using essential plant oils to cause tags to fall off. Oils with powerful antibacterial and antifungal properties that can be used for this include: Calendula, Thuja occidentalis, Peppermint, Cinnamon or Oregano. Because these oils are strong and may irritate skin, a few drops should be mixed with two parts warm water, and applied to tags with a cotton ball as recommended above.
You can also use a smaller cotton ball with one of these diluted oils, place ball on the tag and secure it in place with a band-aid. You can leave the treatment on for a few hours, and that will speed up the natural removal of the tag. You may need to do this on several consecutive nights.
Aloe Vera Plant
Some people swear by the aloe vera plant for removal of skin tags. Aloe vera has the advantage that it is at once an antifungal and antibacterial, but it does not dry or irritate skin and in fact is soothing. Apply a section of fresh aloe vera stalk over tags you wish to remove, or use aloe vera gel from the store. Do this daily for about a week, though it may take longer. If you use fresh aloe vera plant or alcohol-free, chemical-free gel, your skin will not dry out, no matter how long you use it.
Apple Cider Vinegar
This is another potent, natural microbe killer that also does not dry the skin. Because it is so strong, do as with alcohol above — pour a bit on a cotton ball, run ball under warm water and apply to tags. Do this daily for a stretch of days (or leave cotton ball on tag with band-aid over it for a few hours on several consecutive nights).
(Regarding alcohol, vinegar and essential oils: always be careful not to get these in your eyes, as they will sting. Also, above essential oils may not be suitable for removing skin tags on or near genitals, due to sensitivity.)
By Lisa Pecos