Skin tags, or acrochordons, are benign, skin-colored growths that develop primarily in areas where the skin folds, such as under the arms or on the neck or eyelids. They affect men and women equally, but are more common in those who are obese or suffer from type 2 diabetes, according to the New Zealand Dermatological Society. You can remove a skin tag that is unsightly or becomes irritated due to friction or shaving by tying it off with thread to disrupt its blood supply. This will cause the tag to wither and drop off the skin.
Clean the affected area thoroughly with warm water and antibacterial soap, and then wipe it down with isopropyl rubbing alcohol to prevent infection.
Cut a piece of thread to a length of approximately 4 inches. The thread should be long enough to wrap around the tag with excess on either side for easy tying.
Pull the skin tag away from your skin with your thumb and index finger on your left hand. Tie the thread tightly around the neck, or stalk, of the skin tag. You may need to wrap it around the neck more than once before tying to ensure the thread is secure and does not slip off.
Apply an antibiotic ointment to the tag and surrounding skin every morning and night to prevent infection. There is no need to keep the skin tag covered with a bandage.
Watch for color changes in your skin tag. If the blood supply has been completely cut off by the thread, the tag should turn reddish, then purple, and finally black. Minor swelling is acceptable.
Remove the thread if no color changes are visible after 24 hours, if pain, irritation or significant swelling develop, or if you notice signs of infection, such as warmth, redness or red streaks running out from the tag.
Call your doctor for advice if your skin tag does not fall off after one week. Most skin tags will die and fall off within 4 days, provided the blood supply to the tag is completely obstructed.
Sandra Ketcham has nearly two decades of experience writing and editing for major websites and magazines. Her work appears in numerous web and print publications, including "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution," "The Tampa Bay Times," Visit Florida, "USA Today," AOL's Gadling and "Kraze Magazine."