Genital Skin Tags vs. Warts – What’s the Difference?

How to tell Skin Tags and Warts apart

Skin tag versus genial wart and how to differentiate them? Both are skin ailments that grow on your skin. While skin tags are just excessive growth of skin and are not painful, warts are skin infection that can grow on various parts of your body. They look like each other and are mistaken between one another.

Skin Tags

Skin tags are small, maybe up to a half-inch in size, and are usually the size of a grain of rice. They are small and flattened like a pinhead bump. Skin tags mostly appear on eyelids, armpits, groin, upper chest, under the breast, and on your neck. Often they go unnoticed unless they appear in a prominent area. They are harmless and non-cancerous. However, people often take treatments to cure skin tags for aesthetic and cosmetic reasons.

Warts

Common warts are small, grainy skin growths, caused by human papillomavirus or HPV that is grown on hands, fingers, and toes. They are small, fleshy, grainy bumps that are pink in color. They are initially flesh-colored but change to white or pink over a period of time. Common warts are rough to touch and have small, black dots around them.

Neither is necessarily a sign of a serious condition like skin cancer although it may appear concerning. You should absolutely contact your doctor if you’re suspicious about a skin growth being something other than benign skin.

Skin Tag Pictures

A picture of a skin tag.

Genital Warts Pictures

A picture of a genital wart.

 

How Are Skin Tags Mistaken for Genital Warts?

There are chances of skin tags being mistaken for genital warts as they both are skin ailments and are small in size. While skin tags are a harmless growth of excessive skin, genital warts are a disease that can be contracted from someone who already has them. Skin tags appear on the end of a stalk whereas genital warts are a bump on the skin.

Skin tags can be left alone but if they are present in a visible area then it may need to be surgically removed or be treated by applying medications or home remedies. Genital warts need treatment and should be diagnosed by a doctor as they appear in a sensitive area and can be painful.

Where do warts appear and what types exist?

Six major types of warts can appear on various parts of your body.

Common warts

common wart

These warts usually grow on your fingers or toes, but can also occur in other places in your body.

Flat Warts

Flat warts grow on your arms, face, or thighs. They cannot be noticed as they are small. They are pink, brown, or light yellow.

Filiform Warts

Filiform-warts

Filiform warts are of the color of your skin and commonly grow on the face, especially near the eyelids or the lips.

Periungual Warts

periungal warts

Periungual warts grow under the toenails and fingernails and can be quite painful.

Genital Warts

These are warts that occur around the genital area.

Plantar Warts

plantar warts

Plantar warts are painful lumps that can be found on the soles of your feet.  They make walking uncomfortable as they are tiny in size but are surrounded by hardened skin.

Where Do People Get Skin Tags?

Skin tags are a harmless growth of excess skin that you can find on the following body regions:

  • Eyelids
  • Armpits
  • Under the breasts
  • Groin
  • Upper chest
  • Neck

skin tag

You may not notice bumps in your body unless they are in a prominent place that you touch or see often.

Skin tags on the male genital area can be concerning since they resemble warts. We’ll explore what is the cause of pubic growths shortly.

How to get rid of Skin Tags with treatments

There are various home remedies and over-the-counter options you can try to get rid of your skin tag. One of these options will work:

Amada Pure Mole Corrector & Skin Tag Remover

The Amada Pure Mole Corrector and Skin Tag Remover Crème is probably the best option when looking for a Skin tag removal home treatment. The main components of this solution includes Propylene Glycol (PG),  Salicylic Acid, and Water.

The main function in this formula is Salicylic Acid which burns away the skin tags. The crème needs to be carefully applied on the unwanted skin tags with a tooth pick, while making sure healthy skin is being avoided as much as possible, which could lead to skin irritation but heals off after a few days. This procedure should be repeated for 2-3 times per day and after around 7-10 days the skin tags will simply fall off forming a healing scab that will also heal off after a few days. After the scab falls off apply the repair crème on the area to aid in the healing process.  It is also important to only apply the corrector on the skin and never on any mucous membranes.

✔ Removes skin tags permanently

✔ Works on most users according to reports

✔ Simple method of administration

✔Skin tags will be eradicated within 7 to 10 days after use

✔ May cause irritation on healthy surrounding skin

If you’d like to purchase the product you can do so from Amazon.

Conclusion: This product may take a few days long until the skin tags fall off compared to similar products, it maybe also cause irritation on surrounding skin such as most Salicylic Acid products, but the success rate is among the highest on the market.

 

Micro Tagband Skin Tag Removal Kit

Be it a large skin tag or a smaller one, you can use a removal kit to remove it of all sizes anywhere on your body. Before you apply the skin tag band, clean the area surrounding the skin tag, and apply the skin band using the tag band cone provided. Once the band is applied to the skin tag, it will cut down the blood supply to the tag making it fall off after a few days. This is  a purely physical method and does not include any chemicals or crèmes, thus being the natural option in eliminating skin tags. The onset time may be around 3 to 7 days depending on the size of the skin tag. Users have reported successful results while some claimed that the treatment does not work, which on the other hand might be due to wrong administration.

A great article with a lot of information about this can be found here: Micro Tagband Skin Tag Removal Kit Review.

✔ No chemicals, cremes, or lotions used in this method

✔ Blood supply is cut that causes skin tag to fall of

✔ Onset time 3-7 days

✔Skin Tags will not appear on same area again

If you’d like to purchase the product you can do so from Amazon.

Conclusion: This treatment is considered to be the natural option since it does not contain any form of chemicals, or cremes. The results may take  longer than some other products, the application may need some practice, but the effectiveness has been proven among users if used correctly.

 

 

How to get rid of Warts with treatments

 

Dr. Scholl’s Freeze Away Wart Removal Kit

Warts can be treated by freezing them completely, this will cut off the nutrition it is receiving from your body, making them fall off from your body. This method is  Doctor approved and goes along the same principal in burning off skin tags through Cauterization. The Freeze away treatment has been one of the first Salicylic Acid products on the market and works by breaking down the contaminated Wart tissue resulting in new tissue forming over the damaged skin, which only needs to be applied once. This Salicylic Product is one of the most fast acting and will cause the warts to falls off after just 2-5 days after use. The downside among most Salicylic Acid products is that healthy surrounding skin may be irritated but will heal off after 2-3 days.

A great article with a lot of information about this can be found here: Dr. Scholl’s Freeze Away Wart Removal Kit.

✔ Main ingredient is Salicylic Acid that breaks down damaged tissue and causes Warts to falls off

✔ One of the fastest acting home treatments (2-5 days)

✔ 1 treatment is only necessary

✔ May cause irritation on healthy skin

If you’d like to purchase the product you can do so from Amazon.

Conclusion: One of the oldest Salicylic products on the market proven to be very effective, while it may cause irritation of healthy skin, it acts very fast (2-5 days) and requires only 1 treatment making it very easy to use.

 

Wart Remover Salicylic Acid- Compound W

This wart remover is similar to Dr. Scholl’s Freeze Away Wart Remover since its main component is also Salicylic Acid which essentially burns off the wart .This is basically a Cryotherapy but without the freezing therapy. This treatment is recommended by many pharmacist and dermatologist due to its easy use, successful results, and efficient process of removing warts painlessly. The solution may be applied 2-3 per day for a few days(2-4 days) until the Warts will fall off, making it very fast acting. As with all Salicylic Acid product irritation on healthy skin may occur, but will heal off after a few days. Users have reported a very high success rate in eliminating unwanted warts according to reports and reviews.

✔ Very fast acting (2-4 days)

✔ Salicylic Acid causes Warts to burn and fall off

✔ Requires 2-3 treatments per day

✔ Very high success rate among users

If you’d like to purchase the product you can do so from Amazon.

Conclusion: Yet another Salicylic Acid product to burn off unwanted warts, this treatment may also cause irritation on healthy skin, it requires 2-3 administrations per day, but has proven to be one of the most successful remedy’s in eliminating Warts.

 

Wart Stick

The Wart Stick also utilizes Salicylic acid in removing unwanted warts, but the main difference to many other products using Salicylic acid is that the Wart Stick is being administered dry (2-3 times per day) on the infected area. This leads to a pain and odorless use that is very easy to conduct. Results on the other hand are not as quick (7-10 days) as other products, but the removing of warts is nevertheless achieved most of the time. It is less prone to irritating surrounding skin due to its dry nature, while mixed reviews have been reported concerning the success rate.

✔ Dry Salicylic Acid product burning of Warts and causing them to fall off

✔ Pain and Odorless

✔ Result may take longer than other products (7-10 days)

✔ Less prone to irritating healthy skin

✔ Medium success rate

If you’d like to purchase the product you can do so from Amazon.

Conclusion: This dry Salicylic Acid product is ideal for users looking for a odor and painless option that is less likely to irritate surrounding skin. This treatment may take longer than other products and the effectiveness has mixed reports.

 

Handcraft Tea Tree Essential Oil 

Tea tree oil is extracted from tea tree leaves that have natural antibacterial properties. It can be used as an antiseptic to treat warts, acne, cold sores, moles, and even skin tags. Skin tags grow by getting constant blood supply. When you apply tea tree oil on your skin tag, it will cut out the oxygen supply thereby reducing its size. This is a slow process and will take up to eight weeks when applied regularly, but it is cheaper and safer than surgical or non-surgical options.

If you’d like to purchase the product you can do so from Amazon.

 

How to get rid of Warts and Skin Tags with remedies found at home

Warts can be treated at home by trying out natural and safe home remedies that have proven to be effective in removing warts.

Green Tea

Green tea is rich in antioxidants and is an excellent solution for skincare remedy. 2-3 glasses of green tea every day will increase the antioxidant supply to your skin and reduce warts.

You can also apply a used green tea bag on a wart-infected skin. Place the tea bag on the wart for 10-15 minutes and repeat the process thrice a day along with drinking green tea.

Duct Tape

Duct tape is a tried and tested method to clear common warts. In this method, you cover the wart with duct tape, thus depriving it of air and sun exposure. Remove the duct tape once a week and wash the affected area. Keep it exposed overnight and reapply the duct tape again in the morning.

To speed up the process, you can apply salicylic acid on the wart and cover it with duct tape.

Garlic

Garlic is known for its medicinal properties that help fight fungal infections and have been used as a remedy for a long time. Allicin, an anti-viral component present in garlic makes it of great medicinal value.

Crush a clove of garlic and place the crushed garlic on the affected area. Cover the area with a bandage or a duct tape. Make sure that the crushed garlic is not in contact with any unaffected area or any part of the skin that has cuts or wounds.

Apply fresh-cut garlic to the wart-affected area every day. The healing process will take 3-4 weeks.

Apple Cider Vinegar

The vinegar in apple cider vinegar acts like salicylic acid. It burns the infected area and treats the infected skin causing the wart to fall off. The irritation you get from applying vinegar stimulates your immune system’s ability to fight the wart.

Mix some apple cider vinegar with a little water and soak a cotton ball in the solution. Apply the cotton ball on the wart and cover it with a bandage or a tape. Leave the cotton ball overnight on the wart-infected area. Remove the cotton ball and the bandage and repeat the process until the wart falls off.

A picture of a doctor examining marks on a patient's back.

See a Doctor about Genital Wart Removal

Genital warts are a sexually transmitted disease caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) and can affect both men and women. Genital warts disappear without treatment, however, it takes time for them to completely disappear. Applying proper medication or trying out home remedies will take a few months to show its effects. You can remove warts through surgery. Seek medical help from your doctor if:

  • You suspect you have genital warts and need to get it diagnosed
  • You are bleeding from your genital area or find other symptoms such as itching and constant discharge
  • Warts have blocked your urethra making it difficult for you to urinate
  • You have a current or former sexual partner who has genital warts
  • A young child shows signs of genital warts (which can be contracted through sexual abuse)

 

Will Skin Tag or Cutaneous Wart Removal Leave a Scar?

Skin tags or warts may be an eyesore to look at and you may want to get rid of them as soon as possible. But you have to follow the right method in removing warts or skin tags. Try out home remedies or over-the-counter ointments to treat skin ailments. Avoid cutting off a wart or a soft bump as it will result in scars and excessive bleeding.

Freezing a Wart: Cryotherapy is an effective method in removing warts or skin tags from your body. Freezing a wart or a soft wart will render it inactive as the cold will weaken it and make it fall off your body.

Applying Cream and Ointment: Creams and ointment slowly wear off skin tags and warts on your body without leaving any scars.

Once you have used the proper treatment to treat your body of warts or skin tags, make sure you take care of your skin by washing it regularly. Scabs that are left behind after warts disappear protect your skin till it heals completely and should not be forcibly pulled apart.

When Should Treatment Be Avoided?

If you have any doubts when treating soft fibromas, or a wart, always consult with your doctor. There are times when even doctors cannot diagnose your warts after a biopsy, in such cases it is preferred to avoid treating a wart or a skin tag.

Avoid treating warts in an area that is highly sensitive or difficult to access. Sometimes, genital warts grow in places that cannot be operated on, in such cases try out other methods such as freezing off the wart. It is recommended not to perform surgery on skin tags that grow on your buttocks or groin as a treatment in such sensitive areas can be painful.

What Causes Skin Tags?

Skin tags are usually formed among people above the age of 50. It is formed in creases and folds when skin rubs against skin, which is why they can be found in the armpits, neck, groin, and also the eyelids. One cause of skin tag can also be when a blood vessel gets enlarged and becomes trapped under thicker pieces of skin. People with diabetes, as well as overweight or obese people, have a higher chance of growing skin tags in their bodies.

What Are the Reasons for Warts?

Common warts are caused by the human papillomavirus or HPV. The virus causes warts by entering through any skin tissues that are slightly cut or scraped. Warts are contagious, so there are chances you may develop warts from someone who already has them. Warts can grow on your body If you have a weak immune system, which is why they are more common among children who have a developing immune system.

Which groups are at risk?

We have identified the following groups of people that are most likely to develop skin tags and warts.

For skin tags:

  • Obese people
  • People with Type 2 Diabetes
  • Elderly people
  • Pregnant and menopause women
  • People with other skin conditions, including seborrheic keratosis, melanocytic nevus and neurofibroma
  • Men and women with cardiovascular disease
  • Individuals with abnormal lipid profile

For warts:

  • Persons, who have HPV
  • People, whose blood contains any other types of viruses

Which body parts are most exposed to skin tags and warts?

Even though most warts, just like skin tags (also known as benign- growths or tumors) look like harmless growths that appear out of the blue, they cause a tone of insecurities about one`s appearance irrespectively of age and gender. While common warts are mostly caused by different variations of viruses, such as HPV, or clothing frictions, that affect the top layer of the skin, many benign tumors are caused by obesity, diabetes type 2 or aging. Some scientists argue that HPV is ubiquitous just because every person comes in contact with HPV throughout one`s life.  Therefore, we can conclude that one of the most common places to develop warts may be your hands, just because they come in contact with so many areas that may potentially cause the human papillomavirus such as shaking hands, typing on keyboards and ringing door bells. Nowadays more than 100 types of virus have been identified, meaning that most people are likely to experience warts at some point in their life and most likely on their hands. Most common places to develop the skin tags include neck, underarms, around the groin, or under the breasts. Sometimes they can grow on the eyelids or under the folds of the buttocks. Some skin growths may develop as a part of the skin’s reaction to irritating substances or friction such as jewelry or tight clothing on places that are most exposed to it.

Certain forms of the virus are more likely to cause skin warts on the hands. Other forms of HPV may cause genital warts, although some strains of the virus can cause both.

Genetic predisposition to skin tags

According to some scientists and doctors, certain genetic disorders may lead to a predisposition to developing benign growths. Some doctors and dermatologists claim that people who suffer from the Birt-Hogg-Dube (BHD) syndrome and tuberous sclerosis tend to develop acrochordons in large amounts. Sometimes they tend to form a ‘necklace’ like shape around the neck.

How to prevent skin tags and warts?

Not only will the ways to treat the existing warts and skin tags be examined in this article, but also the ways to prevent them from growing. Having identified the reasons and key risk groups, we can conclude that the following steps will be helpful to see the difference and improve the skin condition for those, who tend to suffer from all types of warts and benign growths:

  • Schedule a monthly/quarterly check-up with your dermatologist
  • Ask your dermatologist for alternatives, in case the prescribed medicine does not work
  • Try to lose weight or at least try to keep it stable
  • Change your jewelry and clothing to new, comfortable ones
  • Warts are contagious and easily transmitted, therefore be cautious and avoid physical contact with people who have them
  • If you already have some warts, avoid rubbing onto or irritating them in any way

Last updated on February 10th, 2021

aaom.org Team

Academic Association of Medicine is the go-to resource for all health-related issues. We are an independent body that seeks to offer general information on various health topics and unbiased reviews on health products.

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