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 Riyaz, MD, FAAD, FACMS Dr. Farhaad Riyaz Dr. Farhaad RiyazMD, FAAD, FACMS facebook_icontwitter_iconlinkedin_iconyoutube_iconinsta_icon
Written by , MA (Mass Communication & Journalism), Certified Skin Care Coach Reevan Vishwas Rego MA (Mass Communication & Journalism), Certified Skin Care Coach linkedin_icon
Edited by , BTech Anjali Sayee BTech linkedin_icon Experience: 7 years
Fact-checked by , MA (English Literature) Swathi E MA (English Literature) linkedin_icon Experience: 3 years
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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  A 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  Cognitive 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.

A blogger shared their unpleasant experience of using nail polish to remove their skin tags. They wrote, ” Used clear nail polish. Painted over the skin tag (in my inner crook of the arm). Skin tag blew up in size — almost blister-like and a little scary — and my skin reacted very poorly to the nail polish, and I developed quite a rash (i).”

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

Here are some points to keep in mind before using this method:

  • 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 or DIY beauty hacks such as this may not always give you successful results and you may instead end up causing harm and aggravating the issue. Always consult a dermatology expert for safe and effective removal options or natural remedies to ensure overall skin health and wellness.

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  A 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  A 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.

  • Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil functions as a natural antiseptic with antibacterial and anti-inflammatory characteristics. It shows promise in combating the human papillomavirus and diminishing warts (9). Some anecdotal evidence also suggests its usefulness in addressing skin tags.

  • Vitamin E

Vitamin E has powerful antioxidant properties that may possibly help reduce skin tags. You can apply vitamin E oil or cream to the affected area and massage it gently. Repeating this twice to thrice daily, some believe, offers better results. However, this remedy may not be equally effective for everyone. Consult your dermatologist for more details regarding the same.

Infographic: Alternatives To Nail Polish For Skin Tag Removal

The practice of using nail polish for removing skin tags may not suit everyone as it can irritate the skin and there is also a potential risk of bleeding and pain. Fortunately there are safe and effective removal cosmetic procedures and home remedies we would like to highlight. Check out the infographic below to read through them.

alternatives to nail polish for skin tag removal (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

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.
Removing Skin Tags With Nail Polish

Image: Dall·E/StyleCraze Design Team


Watch the following video on how to get rid of skin tags overnight with your regular nail polish. Get rid of those pesky skin tags in just one night.

Personal Experience: Source

References

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Just a Pinch
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC5154651/
  2. Skin Tags (Acrochordon)
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/343254855_Skin_Tags_Acrochordon
  3. \’A Clinical Evaluation of Skin Tags in Relation to Obesity\’ Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
    Age
  4. Skin Tags
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK547724/
  5. Safety and Efficacy of Nail Products
    https://www.mdpi.com/2079-9284/4/3/24/htm
  6. Association Between Skin Tags and Insulin Resistance
    https://www.scielo.br/j/abd/a/CqSVYj6c7cXhRwVvgmvDppx/?lang=en
  7. RCTS in General Practice: Consider The Influence of Patient Expectation on Your Recruitment Strategy
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/315444265_RCTs_in_general_practice_consider_the_influence_of_patient_expectation_on_your_recruitment_strategy
  8. Garlic in Dermatology
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC4211483
  9. Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)-An Efficient Treatment for Warts: Two Case Reports
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/313333903_Tea_Tree_Oil_Melaleuca_alternifolia-An_Efficient_Treatment_for_Warts_Two_Case_Reports
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Dr. Farhaad Riyaz

Dr. Farhaad RiyazMD, FAAD, FACMS

Dr. Farhaad Riyaz is a US-based dermatologist and an authority on skin cancer, ethnic skin, general dermatology, laser medicine, and non-invasive cosmetics. He has been in private practice since July 2018 and is a member of the AAD and ASDS in addition to several other professional societies. He has 9 years of experience and takes pride in developing personalized skincare...read full bio

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