Skin tags — medically known as acrochordons — are soft and fleshy noncancerous pieces of hanging skin. Although skin tags are harmless, many people consider them unsightly and want to get rid of them.
Skin tags are made up of loose collagen fibers, fat, blood vessels, and other components. These tiny growths or bumps can appear anywhere on the body, especially in areas where the skin rubs against itself or clothes, such as in armpits, eyelids, neck, groin, and under the breasts.
Dermatologists can remove skin tags using procedures such as cryosurgery or cauterization. But these interventions are generally considered cosmetic and not covered by health insurance companies. Patients who want these surgical procedures handled by a doctor can usually expect to somewhere between $100 and $500 out of pocket, with no hope of reimbursement from insurance.
That's not the only option, however. Many over-the-counter skin tag removal remedies are broadly accepted (some even recommended by dermatologists) and cost significantly less — usually under $30. Some remedies are topical products made of natural ingredients or liquid nitrogen substitutes that you apply directly to the skin tag. Others consist of rubber bands or pads used to dry the skin tag to the point it can be removed.
Skin tag remover buying guide
Purchasing a cheap over-the-counter skin tag remover at a grocery store or pharmacy might sound tempting and convenient. But there are a series of factors to consider before you try to remove any skin growth on your own.
First and foremost, you should consult with a general physician or dermatologist to ensure the growth you want to treat is indeed a skin tag and not something else.
Not all skin growths are skin tags. Even though some growths may seem distinguishable at plain sight, like warts and moles, others may be harder to identify or could even be more serious skin conditions, such as seborrheic keratoses, skin cancer, melanoma, or neurofibroma. In all cases, if you're not 100% sure of what you're looking at, or if the growth or blemish on your skin is new, it's best to see a doctor.
Next, always read the warnings section on a skin tag removal product. Most of the time, there are specific circumstances under which some people shouldn’t use a skin tag remover. For instance, skin tag removers are generally not recommended for people who have, or have had in the past, any type of skin cancer, poor blood circulation, diabetes, scarring problems, or who are pregnant.
Similarly, some removers, especially topical and freezing liquids, can’t be used to treat skin tags in sensitive areas, such as the face, eyelids, buttocks, genitals, or inside the nose. This information is typically available in the instructions or in the product’s description.
Some skin tag removers, on the other hand, are specifically designed for the facial area. Removers like TagBand, for example, work by placing a rubber band around the skin tag causing it to eventually fall off, and are considered safe to use on the face.
Lastly, keep in mind that skin tag removers don’t always have the same results for everybody. Depending on the product, the process can take a few days or several weeks. In some cases, customers don’t see any results at all.
Best skin tag temovers
1. Editor’s pick: Micro Auto TagBand Skin Tag Remover Device
TagBand is known for designing skin tag band removal kits for multiple skin tag sizes. This kits consist of using a pen-like applicator to reach the skin tag and place a transparent rubber band at its base. The rubber band gradually reduces the skin tag’s blood supply and causes it to dry until it falls off.
The Micro Auto TagBand is the brand’s kit for treating small to medium-sized skin tags. It comes with an automatic micro band applicator pen that’s more user-friendly than its manual pen applicator counterpart. The Auto TagBand pen uses a click-and-release method that simply requires you to place the band onto the tip of the pen, position the pen over the skin tag, and push a button to release the band.
If your skin tag is bigger than 4mm, consider the larger Auto TagBand designed to remove medium to large skin tags of 4mm to 6mm in diameter. There are also refill band packs available for about $15, so you can save the pen applicator and use it in the future.
2. Best freeze skin tag temover: Compound W Skin Tag Remover
Compound W, known best for its multiple warts removal treatments, also offers a popular over-the-counter topical skin tag remover.
The brand’s skin tag remover consists of a freeze-off liquid, formulated with dimethyl ether, a liquid nitrogen substitute that can help remove skin tags. It is specifically designed to treat smaller skin tags, up to 3mm in diameter.
To ensure the safest application, the kit comes with 24 skin shields — self-adhering round pads with a hole in the center. These pads are used to target the application area and protect the healthy skin surrounding the skin tag. The package has small, medium, and large pads, which fit skin tags of 1mm, 2mm, and 3mm, respectively.
Compound W may not be as effective with larger skin tags. In fact, the brand doesn’t recommend its use for skin tags that are larger than 3mm, or if they're so small to be almost imperceptible. Similarly, the liquid should not be applied to healthy skin, as it could damage it.
3. Best skin tag remover kit: Ulensy Skin Tag Remover
The Ulensy six-step kit is designed to painlessly clear away skin tags on most body parts, including neck, back, shoulders, face, legs, underarms, forehead, and arms. Like the Micro TagBand, it works by placing a rubber band around the skin tag. This method stops the skin tag blood supply and dries it out until eventually the tag falls off.
The kit includes cleansing wipes, a band applier, bands, and skin repair patches that help protect your skin from impurities and germs after the skin tag falls off. The kit’s illustrated, step-by-step instructions are easy to understand and follow.
The Ulensy kit bands are designed to remove medium to large skin tags of approximately 4mm to 8mm. They won’t be as effective with smaller skin tags. Do note that the bands are made of rubber; if you're allergic to this material, you shouldn’t use them.
4. Best skin tag pads remover: Samsali Skin Tag Remover Pads
The Samsali skin tag remover is really straightforward to use. It consists of an adhesive bandage-like pad that you use to cover the skin tag. In the middle of the pad, a medicated patch helps remove the skin tag within a few days.
For better results, it’s recommended to soak the skin tag in warm water for at least five minutes before you cover it with the bandage. This process should be repeated daily until the skin tag is successfully removed. In some cases, it can take up to 14 days.
Some customers, however, have reported experiencing skin burn or irritation due to the bandage adhesive.
5. Best homeopathic skin tag remover: ProVent Skin Tag Remover
The ProVent Skin Tag Remover is an all-natural topical liquid that’s made of plant extracts and essential oils to dry and eliminate skin tags.
This alternative remedy is formulated with Thuja occidentalis, also known as arborvitae, an essential oil that’s said to have tag-removing properties, although it’s also used to treat common colds and respiratory tract infections. Other ingredients include Melaleuca leaf oil, a natural antibacterial that’s typically used to treat skin irritations, minor cuts, scrapes, and burns.
According to the brand, the formula is made for all skin types and can be used on your face and body. It must be applied to the affected area three times a day for several weeks until the skin tag dries and falls off.
Do note that the ProVent skin tag remover is a homeopathic remedy. Homeopathy is an alternative medical system that’s based on the belief that the body can cure itself, sometimes with the help of natural substances that stimulate healing. Results may not be the same in all people. Like most homeopathic products, ProVent is not approved by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), nor has its effectiveness been proven.
6. Best skin tag removal device: Claritag Advanced Skin Tag Removal Device
The Claritag device uses a cryo-freeze application technology to remove skin tags. It’s a method that’s widely accepted and used by physicians and dermatologists.
The device, which resembles a bulky pair of tweezers, consists of two foam pads treated with a liquid cooling gas (aerosolized cryogen) that are used to wrap around, squeeze, and freeze skin tags. It can be used on most body parts, except on sensitive areas like eyelids.
This Claritag product freezes the cells and decreases blood circulation on the tissue after exposing it to 60 seconds of cryogen technology. This results in the eventual thawing of the skin tag, until it then falls off — a process that can take up to 14 days.
Claritag retails for about $70, which compared to other skin tag removal solutions is expensive. Nonetheless, the kit includes the device, a treatment activation base, and 20 disposal foam pads for up to 10 treatments.