This article is reviewed by a team of registered dietitians and medical doctors with extensive, practical clinical and public health experience.
Can Apple Cider Vinegar Remove Skin Tags? Home Remedies & Alternatives 2022
Acrochordons, colloquially known as skin tags, are benign growths that appear on the surface of the skin. Usually, they’re found in parts of the body that fold over on themselves or otherwise see a lot of movement—the armpits, the neck, the eyelids, and one’s personal, sensitive areas.
Both men and women can develop skin tags, and those who are obese or diabetic are much more likely to find them popping up. While these skin- or brown-colored skin conditions are very common and totally harmless, many seek to remove them through common home remedies with medicinal uses.
Is skin tag self-removal safe? Is it effective to use apple cider vinegar to remove skin tags? Read on to learn more about skin tag removal, apple cider vinegar, or otherwise.
Can Apple Cider Vinegar Remove Skin Tags?
Unfortunately, there is little evidence that suggests that apple cider vinegar can effectively remove even small skin tags. In fact, you’ll find more compelling evidence indicating that it might actually be dangerous to do so.
In this account, a 14-year-old girl tried to remove a skin tag from her nose by applying apple cider vinegar topically, undiluted, for a few days. After doing so, she developed erythema, severe reddening of the skin surrounding the skin tag, and skin irritation, a chemical burn significant enough to warrant medical concern.
There are many health benefits of apple cider vinegar—it’s an excellent chemical-free cleaning agent, and it can even be used to cleanse your hair deeply. It’s able to do so much because it’s such a powerful acid, strong enough to dissolve the enamel on your teeth.
Apple cider vinegar is a byproduct of fermentation—after fermenting apple juice for long enough, it breaks down into acetic acid and alpha hydroxy acid. While diluting this mixture of potent compounds may tame them enough to exfoliate your skin effectively and safely, the effect does not go deep enough to eliminate something dimensional, embedded, and anchored like a new skin tag that’s developed spontaneously.
While there are many positive medical associations attributed to apple cider vinegar both as a condiment, a supplement, and as a beauty aid, topical apple cider vinegar as an at-home medical treatment may cause you more health problems than it solves. For this reason, we cannot recommend it if you need to remove a skin tag.
Removing skin tags at home still may be possible, however. While apple cider vinegar for skin tags is not one of them, you might be able to effectively remove skin tags in the following ways without damaging the surrounding skin.
How to Remove Skin Tags Safely
Can supplement heal your skin tags? It’s not likely—it’s best to treat them topically, in the affected area specifically. If you’re looking for an alternative to apple cider vinegar for skin tags, you might consider any of the following easy options, all of which are perfectly safe for your skin.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is a natural anti-fungal agent with applications in the realm of dermatology. It offers anti-cancer properties and can be used to target skin tags anywhere on the body.
Tea tree oil parches the skin tag and catalyzes the healing process after it becomes desiccated enough to fall off painlessly. To do so, apply a few drops to the skin tag each night before bed. Cover it with a bandage and repeat for a few nights until you begin to see results.
The Banana Peel Trick
If you’ve ever been told to put unripe bananas in a big bag until they’re sweet, you already know how bioactive the peel is. Banana peel extract is so potent, in fact, that it’s been shown to be effective against hyperpigmentation, freckles, and lentigo.
Utilizing a banana peel for skin tags is as easy as bandaging a piece of one over your skin tag every night for a few days, with the fruit-facing side touching your skin. It’s a surprisingly effective skin tag remover, probably one of the easiest methods listed here.
If you love your skincare routine, you’re likely already familiar with how beneficial vitamin E is for your complexion.
This powerful antioxidant can assist in the fight against free radicals in the skin, minimizing fine lines and wrinkles and keeping everything fresh, clear, and smooth. Try applying vitamin E to the skin tag and the surrounding area for a few days—you may be able to coax it right off.
Amazingly, garlic applied topically can actually facilitate the skin healing process greatly. Try applying a small amount of crushed garlic to the skin tag, bandaging it over as you would with our banana peel remedy.
The compounds in the garlic may be able to ease the skin tag off naturally, leaving your skin free of imperfection for good.
Aside from these simple home solutions for skin tags, you might consider an over-the-counter option, ready to go from the store. These affordable products can be used to remove skin tags quickly, safely, and easily.
Compound skin tag remover, for example, includes a small shield that isolates your skin tag, allowing you to apply an extremely powerful “freezing” agent without damaging the skin around your skin tag.
Simply administer the skin tag medicine with a swab for quick results. There are tons of other brands in this category to consider alternatively—visit your local pharmacy or ask your doctor about the best skin tag treatment for you.
Skin tag remover bands are another way to go—kits like these will include a bunch of tiny rubber bands and a tool to slip them around your skin tag. The micro bands cut the skin tag’s blood supply off, and they die gradually, falling off and healing over.
If the size or the quantity of your skin tags concerns you, a physician’s touch may, in fact, be your best option. Snip excision, cautery, and cryosurgery can all be carried out by a healthcare professional, solving the problem in as little as one trip to your doctor’s office. CO2 laser treatment and Nd: Yag is also viable options. These procedures are minimally intrusive, and you’ll likely be fully healed in a matter of days.
The Bottom Line
What’s the best home remedy for skin tag removal? Apple cider vinegar is not one of them, but you can still try any of the at-home skin solutions mentioned above.
When in doubt, of course, it’s always possible to seek professional medical attention if the skin tag is large enough to warrant a trip to the doctor’s office. Removing skin tags professionally is a minor, relatively risk-free procedure. If you have the means, it’s a much safer alternative to using apple cider vinegar to do the same at home.
+ 9 sources
Health Canal avoids using tertiary references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic researches from medical associations and institutions. To ensure the accuracy of articles in Health Canal, you can read more about the editorial process here
- Aocd.org. (2022). Skin Tags – American Osteopathic College of Dermatology (AOCD). [online] Available at: https://www.aocd.org/page/SkinTags?
- Feldstein, S., Afshar, M. and Krakowski, A.C. (2015). Chemical Burn from Vinegar Following an Internet-based Protocol for Self-removal of Nevi. The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology, [online] 8(6), p.50. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4479370/
- Zheng (2014). [Effects of vinegar on tooth bleaching and dental hard tissues in vitro]. Sichuan da xue xue bao. Yi xue ban = Journal of Sichuan University. Medical science edition, [online] 45(6). Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25571718/
- Štornik, A., Skok, B. and Trček, J. (2016). Comparison of Cultivable Acetic Acid Bacterial Microbiota between Organic and Conventional Apple Cider Vinegar. Food Technology and Biotechnology, [online] 54. doi:10.17113/ftb.54.01.16.4082.
- Pazyar, N., Yaghoobi, R., Bagherani, N. and Kazerouni, A. (2012). A review of applications of tea tree oil in dermatology. International Journal of Dermatology, [online] 52(7), pp.784–790. doi:10.1111/j.1365-4632.2012.05654.x.
- Phacharapiyangkul, N., Thirapanmethee, K., Sa-ngiamsuntorn, K., Panich, U., Lee, C.-H. and Chomnawang, M. (2019). Effect of Sucrier Banana Peel Extracts on Inhibition of Melanogenesis through the ERK Signaling Pathway. International Journal of Medical Sciences, [online] 16(4), pp.602–606. doi:10.7150/ijms.32137.
- Keen, M. and Hassan, I. (2016). Vitamin E in dermatology. Indian Dermatology Online Journal, [online] 7(4), p.311. doi:10.4103/2229-5178.185494.
- Pazyar, N. and Feily, A. (2011). Garlic in dermatology. Dermatology Reports, [online] 3(1), p.4. doi:10.4081/dr.2011.e4.
- Pandey, A. and Sidharth Sonthalia (2021). Skin Tags. [online] Nih.gov. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK547724/