Skin tags are small, flesh-colored growths of skin. They are often located on the neck, groin, armpits and eyelids, and become more common with age. Skin tags are relatively harmless, but if removal is desired or needed, a doctor should always inspect the skin tag first. Clinical practice guidelines, according to a February 2003 article in “American Family Physician,” recommend skin tags be removed by a doctor.
Many people seek home remedies to remove skin tags, because professional removal is considered a cosmetic procedure and not covered by health insurance. One such home remedy is the use of clear nail polish, with the hope this will suffocate the skin tag, causing it to dry up and fall off. This method has not been studied for safety and effectiveness, and should only be done after consultation with, and approval from your doctor.
Wash the area with a mild soap and warm water. Pat dry the clean area with a towel. The skin tag must be dry before you apply the polish.
Dab the clear nail polish onto the skin tag, coating the tag thoroughly. Allow the polish to dry on the skin before touching it against clothing or rubbing it. Place a bandage over the area. Repeat this process in the evening.
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In the morning, remove the bandage, and remove the polish with nail polish remover. Repeat steps 1 and 2. Do this for 2 weeks, or until the skin tag has gone away.
If you have any irritation, redness or pain, stop the process. Wash the area with mild soap and warm water, rinse and pat dry. If you still want to have the skin tag removed, see your doctor.
The best and most effective removal of a skin tag involves cryotherapy or freezing done by a dermatologist. Alternatively, your dermatologist may choose to burn the tag off with a laser or excise it with an in-office surgical procedure. This would involve numbing the area and cutting the tag off with a scalpel.
Always have your doctor evaluate your skin tag before attempting to remove at home. Do not attempt to remove a skin tag if you have diabetes or poor circulation, and don’t try to remove a skin tag near the eye or in a sensitive area, such as the groin or anus.
Do not try home removal of skin tags that bleed, ooze pus, grow, change shape or tags that are painful or multicolor. Skin tags are small and colored the same as flesh. Do not confuse them with conditions that are more serious, such as a precancerous mole. They are not a raised area of skin, but hang off the body.
Writing since 1999, Darla Ferrara is an award-winning author who specializes in health, diet, fitness and computer technology. She has been published in "Mezzo Magazine" and Diet Spotlight, as well as various online magazines. Ferrara studied biology and emergency medical technology at the University of Nebraska and Southeast Community College.