Skin tags are tiny, flesh-colored growths of skin. Common on the eyelids, neck and body folds such armpit, removal of skin tags is typically considered an optional, cosmetic procedure -- not be covered by health insurance. Because of this, people with skin tags may opt to use home removal remedies such as tea tree oil, an essential oil derived from the Australian native plant Melaleuca alternifolia. According to the National Institutes of Health, only a small amount of human research has been done on tree tea oil, and no studies have been completed on its use in skin tag removal. However, proponents of this inexpensive and fairly risk-free approach suggest that it works by gradually drying out the skin tag and depriving it of blood and oxygen -- so it eventually falls off.
Clean your skin tag and the surrounding area with warm water and mild soap. Pat dry with a clean towel.
Place a few drops of undiluted tea tree oil on a cotton ball or a gauze pad.
Wipe the skin tag with the tea tree oil. Don’t rub too hard, as this can cause irritation. If the skin tag is near your eye, take care to ensure no oil gets in your eye.
Allow the oil to naturally dry on your skin tag. This is important for it to work. If it’s easier, you can use medical tape or a bandage to hold the cotton ball or gauze pad in place to prolong contact time.
Repeat this process 3 times daily. It may take several days to notice improvement. Continue until the skin tag falls off.
If you have any irritation from the tea tree oil, try diluting with olive oil or the carrier oil of your choice.
Tea tree oil can be toxic if ingested, and skin application can lead to irritation and allergic reactions, according to a January 2006 review in “Clinical Microbiology Reviews.” If you experience an allergic reaction, stop using this oil.
Don’t try home removal of skin tags that bleed, grow, or tags that are multicolored or irritated. First seek a doctor’s evaluation to ensure these tags are not something serious.
- National Institutes of Health: National Center for Complimentary and Integrative Health: Tea Tree Oil
- Clinical Microbiology Reviews: Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil: a Review of Antimicrobial and Other Medicinal Properties
- National Institutes of Health: National Institute of Aging: Skin Care and Aging
A Jill-of-all-trades, Lillian Downey is a certified Responsible Sexuality Educator, certified clinical phlebotomist and a certified non-profit administrator. She's also written extensively on gardening and cooking. She also authors blogs on nail art blog and women's self esteem.