How Do I Tell If a Bump Is a Wart or Skin Tag?

You can tell if a bump is a wart or skin tag based on its shape, color, size, and texture. Skin tags are usually narrow and hang off the skin’s normal surface on a stalk, and they are also often quite similar in color to the surrounding skin. A skin tag can also often be less firm than a wart. Warts are generally raised circular bumps that are harder and have a rougher texture than skin tags. Different areas of the body can develop a wart or skin tag, depending on some of your individual health conditions.

Recognizing warts can sometimes be more of a challenge because some of them can have rougher surfaces if they are on an area of the body that frequently rubs against clothing or other surfaces. Some of these warts can even develop scabs or dry skin patches on their tops, making them closer in appearance to other skin lesions, such as blisters. Plantar warts on the soles of the feet are especially prone to scabbing from friction against the inside of the shoe if you walk around with the wart for a long time before having it removed. Other warts that occur on the hands or other areas not prone to friction often have a bumpy surface without the rough texture, though some may have noticeable small dots of blood just under the wart surface.

 Identifying a wart or skin tag can be done without much of the guesswork based on some of your basic medical history. You are generally more likely to develop skin tags if you are approaching middle age and have a family history of them. A common virus known as the papillomavirus is responsible for wart formation, and it can be spread fairly easily through casual contact. A wart or skin tag can appear as an isolated growth or in clusters.

Skin tags are usually smaller and more flexible than warts, and many of them with stalks can be gently pulled away from the skin surface with minimal pain or irritation. Both skin tags and warts can grow on any body surface, although the most common places for skin tags are generally the torso, arms, or neck. The average skin tag does not have any blood flecks inside it as is the case with some warts. It is simply a tiny tube of excess skin. Some people opt for removing skin tags themselves with a razor blade or pair of scissors, but most physicians advise against this type of at-home excision for either a wart or skin tag.

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