Removing Skin Tags With Nail Polish: Safety Concerns And Risks

Everything you need to know before trying this popular home remedy for skin tags.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Farhaad RiyazDr. Farhaad Riyaz, MD, FAAD, FACMS
By Reevan Vishwas RegoReevan Vishwas Rego, Certified Skin Care Coach  • 

Removing skin tags with nail polish is a common hack to get rid of fleshy, wart-like growths. However, this home remedy is extremely dangerous and may cause negative side effects. Keep reading to understand why you should not try this remedy at home and other ways to remove skin tags. Read on.

What Is A Skin Tag?

Close-up of a skin tag

Image: Shutterstock

Skin tags are harmless growths that appear on your skin. The medical term for them is acrochordons. They are brown or beige in color and appear on your eyes, neck, face, armpits, and genitals. They occur in almost 25% of the adult population at any age (1). However, skin tags are more common in people above the age of 50.

protip_icon Did You Know?
Skin tags affect males and females equally. Obese people have a higher risk of inflammation of the skin tag due to constant friction and twisting (4).
  • What Are The Symptoms Of Skin Tags?

Skin tags if left alone aren’t bothersome, but, if you twist or pick them, they may bleed or infect the surrounding skin tissues.
Some of the symptoms of skin tags are as follows.

  • They look like a tiny bump on the skin that is soft to touch.
  • Over time, they turn into a flesh-colored piece of skin attached to the surface of the skin by a stalk.
  • You can develop blood clots if you twist the stalk of the skin tag and it may become painful (2).
  • What Are The Causes For Skin Tags?
Dermatologist checking a skin tag to determine its cause

Image: Shutterstock

There is no clear-cut reason for skin tags to appear. Some researchers suggest that they appear due to clusters of collageni  XA protein in the connective tissue, bone, skin, tendons, and cartilage that is responsible for the skin’s elasticity. and blood getting trapped inside a piece of skin. It is common to see them form in areas where your skin folds, like your armpits, under your neck, and genital areas (2).

Friction caused by clothes or pieces of jewelry rubbing against your skin may cause skin tags to appear. Some studies suggest that obesity and genetic disorders may also be a cause for skin tags (3),(4).

Skin tags are generally harmless, however, some people may want to remove them for personal reasons. Skin tags near the genital areas may at times interfere during sexual intercourse. However, if they bleed, change color and size, or if you notice any irregularity, it could potentially be cancerous. Consult a doctor immediately.

In the next section let us discuss some of the safety concerns of using nail polish to remove skin tags.

Safety And Effectiveness of Using Nail Polish On Skin Tags

Woman having an asthma attack after using nail polish

Image: Shutterstock

Nail polish is a toxic substance that is not safe for your skin. Studies suggest that nail polish contains harmful chemicals like toluene sulfonamide-formaldehyde resin and methacrylates that may cause dermatitis. The study also suggests that these compounds can become airborne and may cause asthma and neurocognitivei  XCognitive function associated with the interconnected nerve fibers in the brain that are responsible for the ability to think and reason. changes (5).

Some people claim that using nail polish to remove skin tags is an effective technique for them. However, dermatologists do not recommend this process.

If you still want to try this process for yourself and see if it bears results, you have to be cautious.

Cautions To Be Followed When Removing Skin Tags With Nail Polish

Avoid using any nail polish on the skin tag if it is clotted or bleeding

Image: Shutterstock

  • Do not try using nail polish to remove skin tags if you have a pre-existing skin condition.
  • Do not try this process to remove skin tags on your genitals and genital areas such as the groin and anus.
  • Don’t try this if you are diabetic.
  • Do not try this if your skin tag is bleeding or is oozing pus.
  • Do not try this if the skin tag is near a mucous membrane, like on the eyelids or the corner of the eyes, and around the nose.
  • Do not try this if the growth has changed appearance.

Using home remedies such as this may not always give you successful results, and you may instead end up causing harm and aggravating the issue. It is always better to consult a doctor for things like this.

The most effective way to remove skin tags is through a simple cosmetic procedure. Apart from cosmetic procedures, there are a few other home remedies that people use to remove skin tags. The next section discusses these options.

What Are The Other Ways To Remove Skin Tags?

Esthetician removing skin tag on woman's neck

Image: Shutterstock

There are cosmetic procedures that give you good results and there are home remedies that have mixed results. However, you must have a sterile environment and past experience in removing skin tags.

There are 4 main cosmetic procedures that can remove skin tags.

1. Cryotherapy

In this procedure, the dermatologist uses liquid nitrogen to freeze the skin tag. Within a week or so you can expect the skin tag to fall off.

2. Cauterization

The dermatologist burns the skin tag and it falls off after the doctor repeats the treatment a couple of times.

3. Ligation

The skin tag is tied with the surgical thread to cut off the blood supply, causing it to gradually fall off.

4. Excision

The doctor applies a local anesthetic to the skin tag and then it is removed with a surgical knife, scalpel, or shaving blade.

protip_icon Did You Know?
Potential complications after skin tag removal include scarring, irritant dermatitisi  XA non-allergic skin reaction caused by irritants that damage the skin’s outer protective layer and lead to a painful and itchy rash. , and in rare cases, neuromai  XA benign tumor of the nerve tissue occurring in the ball of the foot that causes pain between the toes when walking. .

If cosmetic procedures are your choice, you may want to try these home remedies. However, these have not been studied to prove their efficacy.
  • Banana Peel

Anecdotal evidence suggests that a banana peel may be effective in removing warts, a condition similar to skin tags (7). Wrapping a banana peel around the skin tag and leaving it overnight to dry the skin tag. Repeat this process till the tag falls off.

  • Garlic

Studies suggest the topical application of garlic on corns and other skin lesions may help alleviate them (8). However further research is required to determine its efficacy. Rub crushed garlic on the skin tag and wrap it with a bandage and leave it overnight. Wash the area in the morning and repeat till the tag falls off.

Skin tags are flesh-colored benign growths that develop on your groin, armpits, and neck. While the exact cause of skin tags is unknown, studies suggest that genetics, obesity, and friction caused by clothes may cause skin tags to develop. Many people claim that removing skin tags with nail polish is an effective technique; there is no scientific evidence behind this. On the contrary, using nail polish may aggravate the condition further. You can opt for medical treatments such as cryotherapy or excision to remove skin tags. Consult your doctor for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are skin tags a form of fungus?

No, skin tags are not a form of fungus. They are benign tumors of the skin and can be removed with cosmetic procedures.

Does baking soda remove skin tags?

Baking soda may help in removing skin tags. However, the exact mechanism is unknown and more quality research is warranted.

Do skin tags bleed when pulled off?

Yes, skin tags bleed when pulled off. This may also cause irritation and infection. Hence, seek professional help.

Do skin tags have roots?

No skin tags do not have roots and are only superficial growths.

Does apple cider vinegar help get rid of skin tags?

No, apple cider vinegar may not help in getting rid of skin tags. It instead may aggravate skin irritation. Its use in this regard is not recommended.

Key Takeaways

  • Anecdotal evidence suggests that nail polish is effective in removing skin tags. However, dermatologists do not recommend this process.
  • Dermatologists usually use liquid nitrogen to freeze the skin tag through Cryotherapy. Within a week or so, the skin tag may fall off.
  • Topical application of garlic on skin lesions may help alleviate them. However, there is limited research to determine its efficacy.


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  1. Just a Pinch
  2. Skin Tags (Acrochordon)
  3. \’A Clinical Evaluation of Skin Tags in Relation to Obesity\’ Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
  4. Skin Tags
  5. Safety and Efficacy of Nail Products
  6. Association Between Skin Tags and Insulin Resistance
  7. RCTS in General Practice: Consider The Influence of Patient Expectation on Your Recruitment Strategy
  8. Garlic in Dermatology
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