Using apple cider vinegar on the skin can have negative consequences, leading to scarring and irritation. More research on the effectiveness and safety of this remedy is needed.

Skin tags are small, noncancerous growths that are very common. They’re usually flesh colored or slightly darker and appear to hang off the skin. They tend to pop up in areas with folds of skin, such as the armpits, groin, or eyelids. Skin tags don’t cause any health problems and are usually painless.

Still, many people with skin tags want to remove them for cosmetic reasons. Skin tag removal is a simple outpatient procedure, but more and more people are turning to natural home remedies, including apple cider vinegar.

Keep reading to learn whether this natural treatment really works and how to safely try it yourself.

People have been using vinegar as a natural remedy for centuries. Its acidic properties are thought to protect against infection, sterilize wounds, and preserve food. More recently, apple cider vinegar has become the vinegar of choice for everything from treating colds to promoting weight loss.

Some people believe that the acetic acid in apple cider vinegar can help to break down the tissue surrounding skin tags, causing them to eventually fall off.

There’s no scientific evidence that apple cider vinegar removes skin tags. In fact, recent studies suggest it may actually damage your skin.

A 2015 article noted the case of a teenage girl who applied apple cider vinegar to a mole on her face every day for three days and covered it with a bandage. While the vinegar removed the mole after a few days, it also removed the top layer of skin in the affected area. This can lead to scarring and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which are much harder to get rid of than skin tags.

Another report documented the case of a young boy who was left with a chemical burn after applying a cotton ball soaked in apple cider vinegar to the skin on his knee.

If you still want to try using apple cider vinegar for skin tags, follow these steps:

  1. Soak a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar.
  2. Secure the cotton ball to your skin tag with a bandage.
  3. Remove it after 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. Wash the area with soap and warm water
  5. Allow the area to dry — don’t put a bandage over the skin tag.
  6. Repeat daily for two weeks.

There’s no scientific evidence that apple cider vinegar removes skin tags. In addition, a few case studies have revealed potential risks associated with using apple cider vinegar on your skin, though there are ways to use it safely.