Does Surgical Skin Tag Excision Hurt or Cause Scarring?

Published December 29th, 2021 by Chris Riley
Fact Checked by
Erik Rivera
Medically Reviewed:
Dr. Angel Rivera

Skin tags, unless you irritate or infect them, are painless and harmless. Typically, they grow on areas of the body where the skin rubs against skin or clothing. The most common areas that they appear include under the arms, the neck, and the eyelids. No matter the size, though, many people choose to remove skin tags because of the way they look.

Skin tag excision is the process of surgically cutting off a growth. It is often performed on large skin tags, possibly as part of a biopsy procedure. However, small skin tags can also be removed, but there are likely to be more affordable over-the-counter (OTC) alternatives.

Because skin tags are benign growths, surgical procedures for removal are completely optional. Most people who consider this option want to know if skin tag excision causes pain or scarring.

The removal of skin tags by excision is like any other procedure where the skin is cut. It may result in a bit of bleeding, especially with bigger skin tags. However, there is hardly any pain associated with the procedure.

The larger the skin tag and the thicker the stalk, the greater the risk for scarring. But, due to the precision and quickness of the cut, scars will be very small and will fade over time. Just make sure that you don’t disturb the area while it heals.

If you’re considering surgical skin tag excision, you need to know what to expect. From an initial consultation to the procedure itself, it is a quick and painless way to remove skin tags. However, it’s not for everyone and there are other options.

If you have one or two small skin tags, you may wish to consider a less invasive treatment option. Skin tags don’t fall off without treatment unless they become twisted. But, there are plenty of at-home treatments that are a viable alternative.

Will Skin Tag Excision Hurt?

Before you go through the procedure of getting a skin tag cut off, you’ll likely have an initial consultation with your doctor. During this consultation, you can expect to cover:

  • History of your skin tag (when it appeared, is it painful, etc.)
  • Your everyday lifestyle choices
  • Overall health
  • Any questions about the procedure

Your doctor will also want to ensure that the growth is indeed a skin tag, and not another type of skin growth, like a mole. Once the consultation is complete, you can set up an appointment to get the tag(s) removed.

Skin Tag Removal Procedure

A skin tag excision can be done with a sharp knife or scalpel. Sometimes, it is even performed with special scissors or a thin razor (Dermablade).

  • Before any cuts are made, the skin tag and surrounding areas are numbed. This is usually done with a local anesthetic or an anesthetic cream.
  • Once the area is numbed, your practitioner will quickly cut off the skin tag(s).
  • Your doctor will apply pressure to the area to stop any bleeding that may occur.

The results are instant. Skin tags don’t regrow from the same stalk. It’s possible to get another skin tag in the same spot or close by, but a skin tag will not regenerate once it is removed. Excision will get rid of the skin tag at the stalk, so you’ll be able to go home skin tag free.

How to Take Care of Your Skin after an Excision

Skin tags that are cut away tend to heal quickly. The incisions are small, so minimal scarring will occur. On bigger skin tags, you may experience light scarring, though it shouldn’t be very noticeable. You can reduce the risk of scarring, and make sure you’re taking care of your skin by practicing some aftercare techniques.

Healing time depends on the size, or how many are being removed. Typically, it only takes a week or two for the skin to heal. During that time, you shouldn’t experience much pain from the excision. You can compare it to a small cut or scab on the skin. It should heal in the same amount of time.

How to Reduce the Risk of Scars

Again, scars are rare with skin tag removal. However, if you’re worried about even slight scarring, there are things you can do to lower the potential risk. One of the most helpful solutions to prevent scarring is tea tree oil.

Tea tree oil has antiseptic and antibacterial properties. It can help to speed up the healing time of your skin and reduce the chance of scarring. To use, mix a few drops of tea tree oil with a carrier, like olive oil. You can then rub the solution directly onto your skin several times a day.

The likeliness of getting an infection from excision is slim. However, using an antibiotic cream on the area where the skin tag was removed can also help with healing.

Using Excision to Remove Skin Tags

Whether you have a large skin tag or multiple tags, excision can be a fast and virtually pain-free removal option. Keep in mind that removing a skin tag is completely optional. Excision is typically considered a cosmetic procedure. So, insurance won’t cover the cost.

Getting rid of skin tags with a one-time procedure can be worth it. Other skin tag treatment options often take weeks. Excision gets rid of the skin tag(s) in minutes.

Skin tag excision doesn’t hurt and causes minimal scarring. It is definitely a good option for the less visible parts of the body, such as near the anus or genitals. However, it can be cost more and is somewhat invasive. If you’re considering having your skin tags surgically removed, talk with your doctor. They’ll be able to go over the best options and the alternatives.

If you’re seeking a cheaper and less invasive OTC alternative, find out more about the TagBand device.

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