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Why Do I Have Skin Tags and What Can Be Done About Them?

Why Do I Have Skin Tags and What Can Be Done About Them?

Skin can develop various lesions, ranging from birthmarks, freckles, and moles to liver spots, rashes, and acne. These harmless marks, patches, bumps, and growths are very common — virtually everyone has them at various points in life.

For one in two adults, benign dermal growths emerge in the form of soft, hanging “skin tags” (acrochordons), or outward-growing columns of extra skin that often form in clusters. While these tiny pillars of skin often go unnoticed, some can be irritating or unsightly.

Read on as Dr. Johnny L. Serrano, our board-certified general surgeon in Glendale, Arizona, discusses how skin tags form — and explains how we remove unwanted skin tags in a quick, in-office procedure at Precision Surgery and Advanced Vein Therapy.

Understanding skin tags

Skin tags are small, benign lesions that extend outward from the surface of your skin on thin “epidermal stalks.” These harmless pillars of extra skin tissue may be the same color as your skin, or they may be noticeably darker. Most skin tags are:

Skin tags mostly consist of collagen proteins, fat cells, and blood vessels, but some contain nerve cells as well. They form when the skin produces extra cells within its topmost epidermal layer, and those cells wrap themselves around clusters of loose collagen fibers and fat cells.

Why do I have skin tags? 

Anyone can develop skin tags. They’re most likely to appear in skin folds and body areas where normal movement causes the skin to rub itself (i.e., in the armpit). Other common locations for skin tag development include:

You’re more likely to develop skin tags as you age, especially if other people in your family have them. Skin tags are also more likely to appear if you’re living with a chronic metabolic condition like insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or obesity. 

Female hormonal changes appear to increase the likelihood of skin tags, too — experts have identified their increased appearance during pregnancy, a time of great hormonal fluctuation in women.

Skin tag removal options

Even if skin tags may be viewed as a possible sign of metabolic syndrome (prompting a need for further health investigation), it’s important to keep in mind that skin tags themselves are totally harmless. That said, you can get rid of them if you want to, and many people choose to do just that when their skin tag:

Although there are several at-home skin tag removal products available today, it’s important not to try and treat the lesion on your own. At-home self-treatment comes with a much higher risk of excessive bleeding, infection, skin damage, incomplete lesion removal, and scarring.

Here at Precision Surgery and Advanced Vein Therapy, cosmetic specialist Dr. Serrano uses a variety of effective, minimally invasive techniques to remove skin tags while minimizing your risk of infection and scarring. These include: 

Simple excision

If you have a larger skin tag with a longer stem, Dr. Serrano may be able to cut it off with a scalpel or surgical scissors. A simple excision doesn’t usually require stitches, but Dr. Serrano may apply a special medicine to stop the bleeding more quickly. 


With this skin tag removal method, Dr. Serrano applies liquid nitrogen to the skin tag, causing it to freeze, blister, and eventually fall off — much like a routine wart treatment. 


Also known as electrocautery, this skin tag removal approach uses a thin, electrically charged needle, wire, or probe to quickly burn through the narrow stalk that tethers the skin tag to your skin. The heat both cuts and cauterizes (seals) the tissue, keeping bleeding to a minimum.

If you’re ready to say goodbye to unwanted skin tags, we can help. Call 623-321-5663 to reach Precision Surgery and Advanced Vein Therapy today, or use our easy online booking feature to schedule a visit with Dr. Serrano any time. 

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