Skin tag removal: What to expect

Written by: Dr Andrew Burgess
Edited by: Karolyn Judge

Considering getting a skin tag removed? Do you have questions about this minor operation? Leading private GP Dr Andrew Burgess can help. He goes into expert detail into the skin tag removal procedure in this informative article.

Young woman who requires skin tag removal

What are skin tags, and why do they develop?

Skin tags are small, benign growths that commonly appear on areas of the body where skin rubs against skin or clothing. They are typically painless and harmless, although they can sometimes cause irritation or discomfort if they catch on clothing or jewellery.



When is skin tag removal recommended?

Skin tag removal is usually recommended for cosmetic reasons or if the tags are causing discomfort due to their location or size. While skin tags are generally harmless, removal may be necessary if they become irritated, bleed, or if there is suspicion of a more serious condition.



What are the different methods of skin tag removal?


Excision involves cutting the skin tag off with a scalpel or scissors after numbing the area with a local anaesthetic. This method is effective for larger skin tags or those located in sensitive areas.



Cryotherapy involves freezing the skin tag with liquid nitrogen, causing it to fall off over time. This method is suitable for smaller tags and may require multiple treatments for complete removal.



Ligation involves tying off the base of the skin tag with a suture or string, cutting off its blood supply and causing it to eventually fall off. This method is less commonly used but may be appropriate for larger tags.



What can patients expect during a skin tag removal procedure?


Before the procedure, patients will have a consultation with their healthcare provider to discuss the best method of removal and any potential risks or complications.



During the procedure, the area around the skin tag will be cleaned, and a local anaesthetic may be applied to numb the area. The chosen removal method will then be performed, and the skin tag will be removed.



After the procedure, patients may experience mild discomfort or redness at the removal site. They will be advised to keep the area clean and dry and to avoid picking at or irritating the area.



What are the potential risks and complications of skin tag removal?

While skin tag removal is generally safe, there are some risks and potential complications to be aware of, including:

  • Bleeding: Some bleeding may occur during or after the procedure, especially with excision.
  • Infection: There is a risk of infection at the removal site, particularly if proper aftercare instructions are not followed.
  • Scarring: In some cases, scarring may occur at the removal site, especially with excision or if the area is not properly cared for post-procedure.



What is the recovery time after skin tag removal?

Recovery time varies depending on the method of removal and the individual's healing process. In general, most patients can expect the area to heal within a few days to a couple of weeks. It is essential to follow any post-procedure instructions provided by the healthcare provider to promote proper healing and minimise the risk of complications.


Skin tag removal is a common and relatively simple procedure that can improve both physical comfort and self-confidence. By understanding the different removal methods, potential risks, and aftercare requirements, patients can make informed decisions about their skin health and well-being. If you have concerns about skin tags or are considering removal, consult with your healthcare provider for personalised advice and treatment options.




If you’d like a consultation regarding skin tag removal with Dr Burgess, arrange a consultation via his Top Doctors profile.

By Dr Andrew Burgess
GP (general practitioner)

Dr Andrew Burgess is a leading general practitioner (GP) based in Brentwood, Essex. He specialises in joint injections, skin tags and minor surgery alongside steroid injections, travel advice and blood tests. He privately practices at the Warley Medical clinic and also is partner in a NHS GP practice.  

He pursued his education in Brentwood before embarking on his medical journey at the University of Leeds. During his medical studies, he distinguished himself by completing an additional anatomy degree focusing on head and neck anatomy. He further honed his skills through an extended placement with Professor Tim Briggs at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Stanmore.

Dr Burgess has accumulated diverse experience across London and Essex, spanning vascular surgery, ear nose and throat surgery as well as stroke medicine, before transitioning to general practice. He has showcased his expertise by presenting on various medical topics at both national and international forums.

Since 2018, Dr Burgess has dedicated himself to general practice, with a special emphasis on minor surgical procedures and musculoskeletal injections. As a partner in a bustling NHS practice, he remains actively engaged in urgent care services.

Dr Burgess is an ambassador for SNAP Charity and holds trustee positions in two charitable organisations. Drawing from his diverse experiences, Dr Burgess is committed to providing patients with understanding, thorough, and friendly healthcare services. 

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