What Is The Difference Between Skin Tags And Warts?

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What Is The Difference Between Skin Tags And Warts?

Be it skin tags or warts, they are uncomfortable and make you constantly doubt yourself. With the right help, you can get rid of them and have your smooth skin back. But let’s see what exactly they are and how they are different from each other. 

What Is The Difference Between Skin Tags And Warts?

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Smooth skin has great aesthetic appeal. Your appearance is enhanced when you flaunt smooth flawless skin. A radiant glow will only add to your look, and this holds true of both men and women. But what do you do if your skin is marred with bumps? It affects your perception of your body and self as well as your confidence. Before you jump to conclusions, it is important to know what kind of bumps are there on your skin. These lesions are called by different names, two of them being skin tags and warts.

Tag them right

A skin tag is an overgrowth of flesh that rises a few millimetres above the surface of your skin. It is a single flat flap of skin that grows out on a stalk, and it is irregular in shape.  A wart can be flat or perfectly round, and it might have multiple flaps coming out of the same base. Warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HVP). Skin tags are a more common occurrence. However, both are harmless and the only pain points they cause are irritation as they rub against your clothing and social embarrassment.

Dr Shareefa Chause, Dermatologist, Apollo Spectra, Mumbai, explains, “Skin tags and warts are unpleasant. They can affect your peace of mind and are a cause of concern for a large number of people. They are commonly seen in people of all age groups. Skin tags tend to be smooth when compared to warts that are rough with an irregular surface. Skin tags mostly occur around the neck and underarm area, these are mostly hereditary and occur due to weight gain; they are soft on touch and are not contagious.

Common warts are seen on the backs of the fingers and toes and appear as an irregular and rough skin surface. Plantar warts can make walking uncomfortable and are seen on the soles of the feet. Mosaic-type plantar warts are seen due to HPV type 2; Myrmecial-type plantar warts are seen because of HPV type 1; whereas the filiform warts grow on the face.” 

“You will be shocked to know that filiform warts can appear on the mouth, nose or even on the neck or under your chin. They are contagious and tend to spread to other parts of your body,” she explains.

Could you get rid of them?

Getting your skin tag or wart removed is an entirely elective procedure. These conditions do not affect your health in any way but removing them will boost your confidence. However, it is important to get them removed by a trained dermatologist rather than experimenting at home on your own. Trying to burn it or cut it off might lead to serious skin issues and leave you with scars.

Here are some treatments that Dr Shareefa recommends:

Treatment for warts

  • Cantharidin: The wart can be painted with cantharidin that causes a blister to form under the wart, and after a few days the doctor will clip away the dead wart.

  • Cryotherapy: This means freezing and it is a common treatment. This treatment is not at all painful and can be done for both adults and children.

  • Electrosurgery and Curettage: It means scraping off (curetting) the wart with a sharp knife or small, spoon-shaped tool. The doctor will combine these two procedures to remove the wart by scraping it off before or after electrosurgery.

  • Cauterisation: This involves removing the wart by electrical cautery, It is also not a painful procedure.

  • Excision: They cut out the wart (excision) in this procedure.

Treatments for skin tags

While dealing with the removal of skin tags, the doctor will determine the right kind of treatment for you based on the location and type of the tags. It is better to consult the doctor and follow the instructions given by the expert only. Do not opt for any over-the-counter creams or lotions that can do more harm than good. Freezing skin tags with liquid nitrogen, cutting them off with scissors or a scalpel, and even burning them with electrical energy (cauterising) are some of the popular types of treatment that your doctor can recommend. “Do not try to remove warts or skin tags at home by yourself as there are higher chances of infection when you do so. It is better to consult the doctor,” she cautions.

Post Treatment Care 

Although the above treatments are ‘in-and-out’ procedures with hardly any downtime, you need to take care of the site of the skin tag or wart post-treatment.

Dr Shareefa recommends, “Keep the area clean and do not keep touching or rubbing that area constantly. Avoid using any chemical products on the treated area.”

There are also ways in which you can avoid getting skin tags and warts. “Do not touch your warts repeatedly as it leads to the spread of infection through fingers. Moreover, avoid brushing, clipping or shaving the areas with warts, as doing so can invite more warts. Loose weight to prevent skin tags,” she suggests.

Getting rid of skin tags and warts is possible with the right kind of treatment. If you attempt the removal at home, you might end up having serious skin issues that will double the work of your dermatologist. So, simply consult your doctor and choose the right aesthetic way to deal with warts and skin tags.

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