For many people, warts and skin tags look somewhat similar. The skin growths appear almost everywhere on the body, and they often annoy the sufferer. Thankfully, they are benign and can be easily removed with the right treatment. First, you have to find how to identify them.
Learn everything you need to know about the differences between warts and skin tags.
Table of contents
Why do warts appear?
The skin growths are an infection in the top layer of the skin. The culprit? Blame it on the Human Papillomavirus. It enters the body through little cuts or scratches, triggering the rapid growth of cells on the outer layer of the epidermis. The wart (also called verruca) will appear on the body – on the hands, face, in the genital area, on the soles of the feet, etc. However, not all individuals with HPV will develop warts. The scientists link the occurrence of warts to a reduced immune system.
As for the look of verrucas, their features depend on the place where they develop. Common warts occur mostly on the hands and knees and look like hard, raised bumps that have a rough surface, according to https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/warts. Filiform warts usually appear on the face, particularly on the eyelids, near the lips, on the neck, and they resemble thin, long threads.
Do you have problems standing or walking? Plantar warts appear on the soles of the feet. How do you recognize them? The small, hard lumps have tiny black dots within, signaling that they receive a blood supply. As for flat warts, their symptoms include smooth and flattened growths on the hands, face, and lower legs.
The most annoying ones are, by far, genital warts. They develop on the sexual organs or in the pubic area and look like grey or off-white bumps with a cauliflower appearance. As you probably already know, they are sexually transmitted and, unfortunately, they increase the risk of cervical cancer in women.
What causes skin tags?
The benign growths of skin do not appear on the body because of an infection or virus. The truth is that skin tags (acrochordons) form because of friction – skin rubbing against the skin, when the neck is rubbed by a collar, jewelry, or due to clothing. They look like tiny bits of hanging skin and are connected to the underlying epidermis layer by a tiny stalk.
Where the skin tags appear on the body?
Whenever there’s friction. It could be on the neck, in the underarms, groin, or upper chest.
The symptoms of skin tags include small flesh-colored lumps with a wrinkled or smooth surface, according to https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/skin-care-and-aging#agespots. Their size varies, from 1 mm to the size of a grape and have a pedestal base. Although the acrochordons are flat on top, they go deeper into the epidermis. When they are twisted, their color turns to black or red. And if you tear them or they get stuck on clothing, they might bleed. Though they are usually painless and harmless, skin tags can cause discomfort if you try to cut them off.
Statistics show that skin tags are more common in overweight people since they have more folds of skin. Plus, when the hormone levels change – due to pregnancy, diabetes, or other causes – the chance to get acrochordons increases. In most of the cases, you will not have to use a particular remedy, since the growths aren’t disturbing to the patient. Your doctor will recommend you the surgical removal of the skin tags or a natural treatment to eliminate the unaesthetic lumps.
Are moles skin tags?
Moles, skin tags, and warts are different growths of skin. Moles are usually brown or black and can occur almost everywhere on the body. It sounds familiar, right? However, moles start to develop during the first 25 years of an individuals’ life and, as time passes by, the growths will modify their appearance. They will become more prominent, and the color will change, as well. Hairs could grow in the mole – but that’s not a rule.
Congenital nevi (freckles) are the type of moles present at birth, and approximately 1 in 100 people are born with it. The evidence shows that these growths are more likely to develop into cancer (melanoma) than the moles that appear after birth.
If it is bigger than a pencil eraser, you should pay a visit to a dermatologist.
On the other hand, dysplastic nevi are the moles that are larger than the average and with an irregular shape. The color is uneven, and the center is darker than the edges, which are also irregular. See, moles look different from skin tags or warts!
Unfortunately, individuals with 10 or more dysplastic nevi are 12 times more likely to develop skin cancer than those who have fewer moles. You cannot know for sure whether a mole is a melanoma. When you notice any changes in the color, height, size, or shape, you ought to have the mole checked. If it is painful, oozes, itches, or bleeds, your doctor should take a look at it immediately.
How are skin tags different from warts?
Skin tags are formed of collagen fibers and blood vessels that surround the skin. Unlike warts, they are not contagious. The acrochordons do not appear because of a virus, and their appearance is slightly different from a wart’s. If verrucas have a cylindrical shape, skin tags dangle from the epidermis. Thus, skin tags are more prone to bleed or get irritated.
On the other hand, warts are a symptom of an infection with Human Papillomavirus. Several types of the virus were linked to cervical cancer in women. In other words, having warts means that you could develop cancer, at some point. Skin tags are not cancerous but could cause problems if you cut or tear them.
We know that skin tags are harmless and could appear on any part of the skin where there is friction. The most affected regions are the neck, eyelids, armpits, groin, under breast, genitals, and buttocks. Warts tend to develop on the exposed parts of the body – hands and feet. However, they are one of the most commonly transmitted sexual disease, and can quickly spread through physical or sexual contact.
Sometimes, acrochordons could indicate a more serious health issue, such as type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease. That’s why you should visit your doctor whenever you notice the presence of a skin growth on your body.
What is the best wart treatment?
The experts state that you should begin the treatment procedures only after diagnosing the verruca and depending on its location on the skin. Do you have plantar warts? Most wart treatments will work wonders to dry the bump and eliminate it from the soles of the feet. As for genital warts, they need more care. Here are some of the most common treatments used against warts:
- Oral supplements – they improve the immune system and assist the body to defeat Human Papillomavirus, the primary cause why you get warts.
- Topical treatments – are applied to the skin and eliminate the growth within days of use. The most effective warts solutions contain natural ingredients like Salicylic Acid and remove the problem without causing any adverse effects. We have a review article for one such topical treatment, called Wartrol. Take a look.
- Cryotherapy – or wart freeze – leads to the formation of blisters around the verrucas. As the skin will heal, the blisters will fall off together with the wart.
- Electrocautery – involves using electric shocks to remove warts. It can be painful and can result in side effects.
- Laser treatment – it destroys the wart tissue. However, your doctor will recommend this option only when the topical treatment or medicines have failed.
- Surgery – is frequently used for both warts and skin tags. The physician will cut off the skin growth with a small, spoon-shaped tool or a sharp knife. The analysis shows that it does not eliminate the verruca permanently since it does not affect the virus that causes it.
Can you remove skin tags with a wart remover?
Remember that you should never try to cut skin tags or warts. Try non-invasive methods first, and banish the unaesthetic bumps with the best warts over the counter treatment. You read that right!
Skin tags can go away if you use a potent wart remover that contains Salicylic Acid:
- Clean the area affected with soap and water;
- Dry it carefully;
- Use a cotton swab to apply the wart remover on the skin tag;
- Wait until it enters the skin;
- Avoid washing it, and repeat the procedure for 2 times daily.
The solution with Salicylic Acid will break down the tissues of the skin tag just like during a wart freeze procedure. As soon as the growth disappears, you ought to stop applying the wart remover. Based on the statements made on Medline Plus, the natural ingredient is a keratolytic agent that softens and loosens dry the skin, and it could irritate the healthy tissues.
A definitive word from MaximsNews – The comparison summary
Skin tags are frequently mistaken by HPV warts because they have a similar appearance. Despite the fact that they can appear everywhere on the body and share the same treatment options, warts and skin tags have different causes, characteristics, and contagiousness. Before actually using a method to eliminate the skin problem, you must discuss with your General Practitioner and get the right diagnosis.
Warts and skin tags aren’t cancerous, but the presence of warts indicates that you have HPV, which can cause cancer. If you have a growth that’s not a verruca nor an acrochordon, it could be a mole.
Always ask the advice of your doctor when you observe a skin growth, and learn how to keep it under control with the best treatment!