Apple cider vinegar has become the 21st-century’s cure-all which lay people recommend for everything from weight loss to blood pressure and cholesterol reduction, to diabetes management, to acne prevention, to wart elimination, and to skin tag removal. Some of these claims are rather wild, and completely lack scientific support. If you want to know you should use apple cider vinegar for skin tags, you have come to the right place.
What Is Apple Cider Vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar is essentially apples attacked by bacteria. Manufacturers crush the apples and add yeast and bacteria to them. This mixture ferments until the sugar of the apples is turned into alcohol, a bit like wine is made. They then add acetic acid-forming and malic acid-forming bacteria to the blend to convert the alcohol into vinegar. Are you grossed out yet?
This is, in fact, by far the healthiest way of making it. This is called virgin, organic, or unpasteurized apple cider vinegar, and is normally nowhere near as clear and smooth a liquid as the processed types. It is murky or brown with globs of stuff inside.
Apple cider vinegar is certainly an antibacterial substance, but since skin tags involve no bacteria, this cannot be the reason why people recommend it. In any case, doctors have seen many cases where apple cider vinegar caused horrible scars when used on skin wounds, so many specifically advise against its use as a topical antibacterial agent.
People probably believe that apple cider vinegar is an effective remover of skin tags for the same reason as other acids are. They can burn away the skin tag because they are so acidic.
Apple Cider Vinegar for Skin Tags: Use It?
While no study has been published on its ability to remove skin tags, some scientists have tried to use acetic acid, the substance that contributes the acidity to Apple cider vinegar, to remove warts. Since they did not believe that acetic acid could kill the virus responsible for warts, their thinking was that it could maybe burn it off, similarly to how lay people think it can burn off a skin tag.
In one study, they treated female genital warts with a solution containing 99 percent acetic acid. This did work, but only after they made a small incision in the wart and applied a local anesthetic to manage the pain. This does not tell us much about vinegar’s ability to remove skin tags, since it is terribly unwise to cut into your skin tag with the help of an over-the-counter anaesthetic cream. Ouch! You can try to poke a few holes into it with the needle to force it to absorb the acid, but at five percent, apple cider vinegar is still far from a 99 percent acetic acid solution. It might be worth trying with small skin tags, but you will have to do this often to make up for the weakness of the solution. In other words, poke it with the needle and puts Apple cider vinegar on it with a cotton swab more than five times a day.
Another research team applied a variety of acids, including malic acid, to skin in the laboratory to see whether they functioned as keratolytics. A keratolytic substance is one that either softens the keratin in your skin or breaks it down. This is what you want to happen when you remove a skin tag. You want a substance that degrades your skin cells without just burning them off, as a substance like battery acid would do. That kind of destruction inevitably causes scars. The scientists found that none of these acids attacked the skins keratin directly, they just changed the way the keratin was formed.
Years ago, the Journal of the National Cancer Institute published a study that showed that the regular application of acetic acid could, in fact, promote and stimulate the growth of skin tumors. They used a stronger solution than the acetic acid found in vinegar. Years later, the journal Cancer Letters replicated the research and demonstrated that acetic acid could promote tumor growth when a tumor was already present and growing. Since skin tag is just a type of benign skin tumor, I would be too worried that apple cider vinegar could promote its growth instead of removing it. It does not seem to be a chance worth taking, especially when considering how difficult they are to remove once they are large.
When you read websites that tell you that apple cider vinegar can remove skin tags, be critical and check whether they provide links to a scientific study. After my extensive research, the first of the above three studies comes the closest to proving that it can work, and it is not very close.
Since skin tags already take so long to degenerate after the application of a cream, I would not waste time on apple cider vinegar if I were you. It might be cheap, but it will probably add a month or more to your treatment regime.
Revitol’s Skin Tag Remover cream contains a substance, called thuja occidentalis, that numerous studies have proved can remove skin tumors. It is a far better option, especially because the company has strengthened it six fold over the standard thuja occidentalis plant gel.