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Skin tag vs. wart: it sounds like the title of the next major superhero franchise. In reality, they’re just two commonly confused skin bumps that annoy the heck out of a lot of people. The first step to getting rid of them is identifying which is which. To do that, you’ll need to get up close and personal with these unsightly but harmless and totally normal growths.

Skin Tag vs. Wart: What’s the Difference?

It can be difficult to tell these two apart because they are both typically skin-colored, notes the American Academy of Dermatology. However, they do have some key differences:

  • Color – Skin tags are mostly flesh-toned but can be darker and resemble a raised mole. Warts, on the other hand, can be skin-colored, dark brown, or even black.
  • Size and texture – When differentiating skin tag vs. wart, the former is generally smooth and raised. They can grow as large as a few centimeters. Warts are also raised but flat and grainy to the touch. They can come in clusters, which make the skin .
  • Protrusion – Skin tags protrude like stalks or stems and may appear floppy or hanging from the skin. Smaller skin tags can look like warts.
  • Cause – Skin-to-skin friction cause skin tags, which usually appear in skin folds like the neck, armpits, groin, and near the eyes. They are harmless and non-contagious. Warts come from the human papillomavirus (HPV) and are transmitted through touch.

How to Get Rid of Skin Tags

Skin tags aren’t usually a problem, but if they grow too large, they may start to affect your confidence or interfere with everyday tasks. In this case, you may want to consider having them removed by a doctor. Skin tag removal is a specific procedure that may involve freezing or burning the tag or through cosmetic surgery under local anesthesia. 

The UK NHS does not recommend removing skin tags at home since they tend to bleed heavily. Some skin tags can fall off by themselves over time.

How to Get Rid of Warts

If you notice any suspicious growths on your skin, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends visiting your dermatologist at once. If you are diagnosed with warts, they may offer treatments similar to skin tag removal (burning or freezing) or cutting it off. Other treatments include lasers and . Immunotherapy is also recommended as a last resort to help the body fight the infection on its own.

Your skin may be sensitive after treatment, so protect it from UV rays to prevent burning or inflammation. Try Vaseline Healthy Bright SPF24 PA++ Sun + Pollution Protection Body Lotion, a lotion that also has sunscreen. Keeping your skin moisturized can also help prevent further irritation.

Even if you can differentiate skin tag vs. wart, it’s still advisable to visit a dermatologist for expert diagnosis and treatment. Do not try to remove these bumps yourself, as this may lead to infection. To prevent future skin growths, maintain a healthy diet and .