Removing Skin Tags with Nail Polish: Is It Safe?

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Skin tags, also called nevi, are small growths that often appear on your skin. Skin tags are painless, noncancerous, and they don’t pose any danger to your health.

Skin tags are flesh-toned or slightly darker than your skin, and many people don’t like the way they look. Clear nail polish is a home remedy that some people say can remove skin tags.

Clear nail polish might work to get rid of skin tags by essentially suffocating the skin cells.

If you want to get rid of a skin tag or mole for cosmetic reasons, clear nail polish might be effective — but that doesn’t mean that it’s safe.

Keep reading to find out more about this popular home remedy for skin tags.

Removing skin tags with nail polish or nail polish remover isn’t safe for your skin.

In fact, doctors don’t recommend putting nail polish on your skin for any reason.

Skin tags contain blood vessels. That means that any method used to remove them from your body needs to take place in a sterile environment.

If you remove skin tags yourself using nail polish or another home remedy, the skin tag will most likely bleed. This leaves you at risk for infection.

Nail polish is made from powerful chemicals that create a sticky, nearly unbreakable bond when applied to your nails. Your nails are made out of a hard, compacted protein called keratin, which is why you can safely use nail polish on them.

But even the healthiest nails start to weaken, yellow, and chafe with repeated exposure to nail polish. If that’s what nail polish can do to your nails, imagine the effect that it can have on your skin.

The keratin in your nails also prevents your skin from absorbing the harsher elements in nail polish. Your top layer of skin, where skin tags live, easily absorbs almost everything you put on it.

For these reasons alone, you should avoid using clear nail polish on your skin to get rid of skin tags.

If you’re looking to get rid of a skin tag, there are other ways to do it.

Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is one folk remedy for skin tags that some people swear by.

Applying apple cider vinegar to a skin tag each day might help shrink or break down the skin tag’s surrounding skin tissue. There’s no scientific research to support the use of this method, however.

Dental floss

If your skin tag is attached to your skin by a “stalk,” you may consider tying a piece of dental floss around the stalk.

The theory goes that this will cut off the blood supply to those skin cells and the skin tag will fall off.

Again, this is anecdotal. There’s no medical literature to indicate that this is a successful method for skin tag removal.

Surgical removal

Your doctor will have research-based, safe treatment options for removing skin tags.

Cryosurgery, which involves freezing off skin tags, is a quick option that can be done at your dermatologist’s office.

Surgical removal of your skin tag can also be done quickly and with minimal recovery necessary.

Electrical excision, which burns the skin tag off while sterilizing it, is a third option.

If you use a home remedy such as nail polish to get rid of a skin tag, there are several risk factors you need to keep in mind.

Scarring

If your skin tag does fall off, it will cause bleeding. This bleeding can result in scabbing and even scarring where the skin tag used to be.

Infection

If you use a DIY method of skin tag removal, you may not be able to sterilize the environment properly. This can cause bacteria to interfere with the healing process on your skin, creating an infection.

Misdiagnosis

True skin tags are harmless and are no cause for worry.

However, if your skin tag has shown the following signs, it could potentially be a cancerous mole:

  • bleeding
  • color change
  • recent growth
  • another irregularity

A dermatologist can look at a skin tag and decide pretty quickly if it needs further testing.

If you have an irregular skin tag or mole, you should make an appointment with your dermatologist before you try to get rid of it on your own.

There’s no home remedy that’s proven to be safe and effective for removing skin tags.

Any method that’s powerful enough to break the bond between the skin tag and your skin can damage your skin and leave you at risk for infection.

You definitely shouldn’t try to remove a skin tag using clear nail polish or any other method if the skin tag:

  • is near a mucous membrane, such as on your eyelid, on your nose, or in the corner of your eye
  • is on your genitals
  • is bleeding
  • has darkened, grown, or become raised recently
  • has sprouted hair

There’s no medical research that supports removing a skin tag from your body using clear nail polish.

It’s always safer to have a doctor remove a skin tag that’s bothering you. A sterilized environment and an experienced provider are both critical to successful skin tag removal.

If you’re curious about over-the-counter products or home remedies that promise to remove skin tags, contact your doctor or dermatologist to discuss the pros and cons first.



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