You could say I’m somewhat of an expert on skin tags. Not because I am a medical doctor, but because I have had quite a few, and tried a range of ways of getting rid of them. Some methods for how to remove skin tags are more informed than others.
I even consulted a doctor whose cryogenic (freezing) treatment failed and whose cutting left unsightly scars and thus a new issue in and of themselves..
Luckily I have a postgraduate science degree, so at one point I decided I would read through as much incomprehensible scientific research as possible and then pick a treatment that conformed to it. That definitely paid off for me and I wish I’d done it sooner.
At the time I have only one skin tag left that I am planning to remove in the next few weeks. I’ll get in to how exactly I remove them soon, but first things first:
What Are Skin Tags?
Skin tags are those little fleshy outgrowths or tumors that you often see on people’s necks. They also appear on other areas of the body where the skin folds, such as the armpits, the groin, the underside of the breasts, and even the eyelids. Some of them grow tightly on your skin, while others hang down by little stems that connect them to your skin. The former are normally called moles, while the latter are called skin tags. The medical name for a skin tag is an acrochordon.
Most of them are benign, except if you include the effect they have on your confidence and self-esteem. It is hard not to be ashamed of bits of flesh that hang off you. It looks ugly. The flesh-colored ones are bad enough, but some of them are composed of darker pigment that stands out on lighter skin. They are impossible to hide and you know that others can see them from a distance.
It becomes even worse when you are in relationships where people want to touch those parts of your body and you obsess over how grossed out they are when they have to caress soft fleshy growths that are larger than pimples. Some moles and skin tags even grow their own hair which is unbearably disgusting.
Most of my skin tags have started as slightly raised moles, then developed stems that connected them to my skin, and some of them did grew their own hair. Two doctors told me that they were harmless and that I should just live with them, which was obviously not an option I was content with.
The third doctor removed a few, just to find that two of the moles that had not yet developed stems were malignant; in other words, cancerous. So much for “harmless!” Furthermore, he told me that some large skin tags could burst under pressure, an experience too dreadful to contemplate.
Liquid nitrogen removed none of them after only one treatment, so I asked the doctor to cut them out to save money on repeat visits. They certainly did not grow back after he cut them out. However, I now have raised scars instead of skin tags, which is not quite what I had in mind as a solution.
I then did my own research and found a relatively cost-effective remedy that worked without leaving scars and without requiring expensive doctor’s visits.
How to Remove Skin Tags: Natural Remedies
So, here’s what I’ve found to work best for me:
I use a natural product called Revitol Skin Tag Remover which is a cream derived exclusively from plants. As such, it is free of side-effects. You must first wash the area with the skin tag with soap and water and dry it completely. Then apply Revitol to the tag twice or three times a day and leave it on until the next application. If you are patient and continue to do this diligently for a few weeks, the skin tag will fall off. Mine usually take about a month or so to come off, but this can vary between individuals.
The active ingredient in Revitol is called thuja occidentalis. The thuja occidentalis is an evergreen north-east American and European tree that is more commonly called white cedar. Manufacturers take the essential oil from its leaves and twigs and combine it with other oils that work in synergy to strengthen it sixfold. That is why Revitol is a lot better than most other thuja occidentalis essential oils or supplements, because its thuja occidentalis oil is so much stronger than the oil in other supplements, meaning it will get rid of that skin tag a lot quicker. A few extra months of having to use a skin tag cream daily is a pretty big deal breaker to me at least.
The Causes of Skin Tags
To understand why thuja occidentalis oil works so well, it is useful to consider the causes of skin tags.
At this stage doctors do not know what causes them. It is more common in the middle-aged and the elderly than in the young, it is more common in women than in men, and it is more common in those who are overweight than in those at an appropriate weight. It also seems like it becomes more likely with pregnancy, probably because of elevated hormones. A small number of cases are caused by the human papilloma virus, the same virus that causes warts.
Since more than half of all people get them, however, there probably is no one definite cause. It is just normal skin behavior in areas where the skin is a bit loose. When skin folds rub against each other, or when clothes or jewelry rub against skin, small tumors form. Like cancerous tumors, the cells inside the skin tag proliferate aimlessly as the tag grows bigger.
As a result, the best treatment is one that works similarly to cancer treatments in two crucial ways:
- It must stop the abnormal proliferation of cells and thereby halt the growth of the tumor.
- It must stimulate your immune system to attack the tumor and kill the cells that are already there until the whole thing shrivels and falls off.
This is by far the most natural approach. It does not involve burning your skin or attacking it with strong acids or alkalis that may leave scars and kill surrounding skin cells. Commonly recommended ways to get rid of skin tags cannot intervene in these two ways and are, therefore, ineffective.
Common Ineffective Medical Treatments for Skin Tags
- Cryogenic treatment. Treatment with a freezing substance like liquid hydrogen fails as often as it succeeds because the cells in the skin tag often survive being frozen. In fact, the point of Cryopreservation is to preserve cells in tanks of liquid nitrogen because, while temperatures of below -148 °F (-100 °C) stall biological activity like growth, they do preserve cells in their current state. This is why many wealthy people express the wish to have their bodies frozen instead of being artificially kept alive in hospital. In the future, medical science might have a cure for their conditions and then their frozen bodies are intact to receive it. Accordingly, it normally requires two or three cryogenic treatments to properly kill each skin tag, which means paying for three doctor’s consultations together with three treatments. Medical insurance does not cover this, as skin tag removal is a cosmetic rather than a strictly necessary medical procedure. If you earn what I do, this is way too expensive.
- Surgical removal. This procedure is simple and painless because the doctor normally injects a bit of local anesthetic into the skin tag before cutting it out. However, it always leaves scars and is a poor choice, especially on your neck and face that are not covered by your clothes.
- Salicylic acid. This is the most common over-the-counter remedy for skin tags and it certainly works for some people. It is originally derived from plants, but is then mixed with unnatural chemicals during the manufacturing process of, for example, aspirin and skin cream. Manufacturers recommend the cream for acne, warts, and skin tags. Since it is a painkiller and strong anti-inflammatory, its use for acne and warts is understandable because both are in part inflammatory conditions. Skin tags are not inflamed, however, which makes salicylic acid the wrong type of treatment for it. Moreover, if it is not washed off after use, it can cause chemical burns, especially on sensitive skin.
Common Ineffective Natural Remedies for Skin Tags
- Tea tree oil. Many websites recommend this essential oil for most skin disorders because it kills bacteria, fungi, and viruses. This is why it works well against warts, cold sores, angular chelitis, acne, and so forth. Warts are caused by the human papilloma virus, cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus, acne is caused by the propionibacterium acnes bacterium, and angular chelitis is caused by either bacteria or fungi. Viruses, bacteria, and fungi play no role in most skin tags, however, so there is no pathogen for the tea tree oil to kill here. It may work for the small number of cases caused by the human papilloma virus, but since you don’t know whether yours fit in this category, it is better to spend your money on something that is more likely to work.
- Apple cider vinegar and pineapple juice. Many websites recommend that you dab sour fruit juices on your skin tags for a few weeks. While it is not impossible that they have worked for one or two people, there is no scientific research that shows them to be effective. Furthermore, they are just too sticky to apply without washing off. They won’t remove skin tags, they will cover your pillows and clothes in sticky fruit juice, and they will attract flies. Disgusting!
- Duct tape. Many people believe that skin tags wither and fall off if you cover them with duct tape for a few weeks. This makes no sense, as skin cells do not die under plaster. They are nurtured by blood, nutrients, and oxygen that they receive from inside your body, not from the air around you. Moreover, do you really want to stick duct tape all over your face and neck for weeks and answer all the questions you will receive about it?
- Dental floss ties. Some people believe that you can pull a skin tag outward, tie dental floss around the stem, and thereby cut off the blood that keeps the cells in it alive. One must ask whether the person who dreamed up this method has ever had a skin tag or, for that matter, used dental floss. Tags can usually not be pulled far enough outward, and it is far from obvious that dental floss can be tied sufficiently tightly around anything, let alone something soft and wobbly. Further, tying pieces of dental floss all over your neck and face is hardly a way of improving your appearance! The idea is right, however, as cutting off blood circulation to the tag will kill it and make it fall off. The danger is simply that the string will not cut off all blood flow and that it may damage rather than kill it. This is probably why many people admit that they eventually cut it off with nail scissors. Ouch!
- Onion juice. Once again, this claim has no scientific backing. Many people believe that it can stimulate hair growth by improving blood circulation. It also has antibacterial properties. How this relates to skin tags remains a mystery.
- Castor oil baking soda. Mixing castor oil with baking soda into a paste is another common recommendation for which authors predictably cite no academic research nor include an explanation of how it is supposed to work.
Instead of wasting your time with more snake oil, I shall move on to the solution for which there is substantial scientific evidence.
How to Get Rid of Skin Tags with Thuja Occidentalis
Thuja Occidentalis, as found in a potent dose among other synergistic ingredients in Revitol Skin Tag Remover, targets skin tags at a cellular level. I previously mentioned that an effective skin tag remover would have to stop the proliferation and growth of cells inside the tag while simultaneously boosting your immune system to mop up what remains. Thuja occidentalis does this in several ways.
- Many scientific studies show that it is able to halt abnormal growth of skin tumors. It stops the proliferation of A375 and A549 cells, two of the most common cells in skin tumors, including cancerous ones. To understand how it achieves this, you must know something about the natural life-cycle of cells. All the cells in your body are formed, then mature, then age, then die, and then get replaced by new ones of the same type. Constant replacement of old cells with new ones is how your body keeps your bones, blood vessels, organs, skin, and other tissue strong and functional. In tumors, both cancerous and benign, new cells are formed more rapidly than the old ones die. That is why they grow outward instead of staying in their place, like normal tissue does. Researchers have found that thuja occidentalis can interfere with this natural life-cycle in two ways. It can either speed the cycle up to ensure that cells die far faster than new ones can be formed, or it can freeze the cells at their current life stage to prevent new ones from maturing. This will shrink your skin tags.
- Other studies show that thuja occidentalis boosts your immune system to attack the cells in skin tumors, warts, and other abnormal skin lesions. When you hear the words free radicals, also called reactive oxitive species, you probably think of bad cells that destroy healthy cells in your body. This is often true; an abundance of free radicals causes a large number of illnesses and leads to premature ageing. However, your immune system also uses free radicals to attack threatening or unwanted cells. Killing the cells in viruses and bacteria is precisely how it rids your body of them. Scientists who have studied thuja occidentalis think that it boosts your immune system by increasing the number of free radicals inside the tissue to which you apply it. In other words, if you put Revitol Skin Tag Remover on the skin tag, it increases the number of free radicals inside the tag so that the other cells in it can be killed.
- The substances in thuja occidentalis have antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-viral properties and can thereby combat skin tags that are caused by the human papilloma virus. It can also keep the tags free of pathogens that may interfere with your body’s ability to break them down. Many researchers even suggest that bandages should be made of it or coated in it, and it is such a strong anti-viral that it even shows some success against the flu virus and HIV. When it was specifically tested on warts, it passed with flying colors, so it is clearly able to kill the human papilloma virus that causes skin tags.
- Not one study on thuja occidentalis has found it to be toxic or harmful in any way.
It is always worthwhile to research claims when you run into them on the Internet, as many people try to make money from your medical problems. Hopefully I have helped you to sort the wheat from the chaff and save your hard-earned money. But if it’s one thing you should try before taking more serious measures to remove your skin tags, it would be this. Just be patient if it does not work immediately. It will work if you give it enough time.