Not being a trained dermatologist, it can sometimes be difficult telling the difference between various skin conditions.
We don’t need to tell you that this is crucially important.
If a mark is diagnosed as a skin tag then you may not need any treatment at all. Skin tags aren’t dangerous and can fall off by themselves. However other times a certain lump could be incredibly dangerous and need medical attention straight away.
The golden rule is this – if you’re in doubt go and see a doctor. Even if you’re 99% sure a lump is harmless, but it’s hurting, getting bigger, or otherwise changing, then something may not be right. Don’t take risks with your own health!
On this page we’ll hopefully give you some pointers for identifying when a blemish is a skin tag or not.
Skin tags are usually small; just a few millimetres, however bigger tags can be the size of a pea. They protrude from the skin and may be the same color as the skin, or sometimes darker. Typically they’ll be attached to the skin by a thinner ‘stalk’ then have a ‘head’ which is a bit bigger. So some (not all) resemble mini light bulbs. They can occur on a number of areas such as the eyelids, armpits, around the groin, under the breasts or around the neck. Typically they will be seen where skin folds or rubs against other skin. Although they may appear elsewhere. Skin tags don’t usually hurt unless they get caught on something.
Both skin tags and genital warts can be found around the groin area. Where as skin tags have a stalk to them, genital warts are better classified as bumps. They can be a range of colors, from pink to brown depending on the color of your skin. They don’t usually hurt but may be itchy. The appearance is quite varied; they may be completely flat or protrude quite obviously. As with skin tags they can appear by themselves or in groups.
Warts in General
Others sorts of warts on different parts of the body should be easier to distinguish. Warts are common on the hands and feet, skin tags aren’t usually seen on these areas. However around the eyes they may be hard to tell apart as some warts can be long and flat. Warts and skin tags don’t pose any immediate danger to your health, but before you try any home treatments you should certainly be sure what you’re dealing with first.
Warts are caused by the human papillomavirus and should generally all look the same. Unlike skin tags they are infectious and are usually passed on through broken skin.
Distinguishing moles from skin tags usually is easy. Moles usually are well defined and symmetrical with a consistent color throughout. The key difference between moles and skin tags, is that moles may (in rare circumstances) become cancerous. Moles usually have a much flatter dome like appearance when compared to skin tags. However sometimes they may be completely flat.
Melanoma is a malignant tumor. This skin cancer may be a similar color to skin tags but will usually be flat or slightly raised with an uneven border. They shouldn’t have a stalk or protrude significantly from your skin. Melanoma may be painful, change size and shape, look inflamed, bleed and change color. If your skin tags begin to do any of these things then seek professional advice immediately.