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Confusion Surrounding Skin Tags - Is it really a Skin Tag or something else?
Skin tags are often confused with other benign skin conditions such as molluscum contagiosum, moles, warts and genital warts.
In order to help you understand how skin tags are different from each of these other conditions, below you will find how skin tags are different to each of them, thereby allowing the diagnosis of skin tags to be so much easier.
Skin Tags or Molluscum contagiosum
Molluscum contagiosum is a viral infection which affects children more than adults where a pox-family virus causes little pale warts that usually remain from six to nine months. Molluscum is extremely contagious and eczema often accompanies it. According to Wilkipedia, 17% of kids go through it, mainly between the ages of 2 and 12 years.
Molluscum and skin tags are both pink and both are caused by viruses. However, unlike skin tags molluscum look a lot like pimples and come in clusters. Skin tags are longer and formed of actual skin. Molluscum will never hang off of a stalk unlike skin tags and will be totally round. Moreover, if someone has molluscum on the genitals, it can be sexually passed on.
Skin Tags or Moles
Moles are growths on the skin that are usually brown or black. Moles can appear anywhere on the skin, alone or in groups. Like skin tags, moles are very common and usually benign. However, moles are composed of cells called melanocytes, and are more likely to develop into melanoma (cancer) than skin tags. Remember a skin tag is a small flap of tissue that hangs off the skin by a connecting stalk. Moreover, skin tags are not dangerous. In contrast to moles, which are browner, round and mostly firm, skin tags are usually flesh colored and soft. The tags can vary in size but usually don’t get any larger than a grain of rice.
If you have moles that are growing or changing in color or shape, you should see your doctor right away. If your moles do not change over time, there is little to worry about, but if you notice any signs of change in an existing mole, you should see your doctor immediately.
Skin Tags or Warts
Warts, like skin tags are little non-cancerous tumors found on the body. However, whereas skin tags are a small piece of skin which protrudes off the body, warts are small bumps that have a different texture compared to skin tags and are caused by the HPV.
Genital Skin Tags or Genital Warts?
Warts or Skin Tags on the vagina, labia, or penis?
Skin tags generally don’t affect the suprapubic area (just above above the pubic area), whereas genital warts often do.
Genital warts are also more common on the penis shaft and balls / scrotum, whereas skin tags hang out in your groin creases.
Vaginal skin tags are not the same thing as genital warts. Genital warts are caused by a virus and are contagious! To tell the difference between genital warts and skin tags on the vagina can be difficult, apart from seeing adoctor, you can only go on whether it is a lump or a protusion, the latter is more likely to be a skin tag.
Skin tags can be treated or ignored. In contrast, genital warts need to be treated immediately.
Skin Tags as Markers of Disease
Skin tags can alert the physician to screen individuals for several disorders.
Skin tags have been found to be associated not only with diabetes and colonic polpys but also with the atherogenic lipid profile which suggests that skin tags may be a useful clinical sign for individuals at risk for cardiovascular disease.ix The lipid profile is thought to be strongly associated with atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. It is also associated with features of type 2 diabetes, although not exclusively.
There are other causes of skin tags as well, which are by no means as dangerous.
Diagnosis Skin Tags in Conclusion
As can be seen, skin tags can easily be diferrentiated from moles, warts and molluscum, but in making the diagnosis of skin tags, it is best to also consult your doctor to check for any underlying health condition that may be causing them, and causing you some considerable harm.
Skin Tags References
ix Crook MA. Skin tags and the atherogenic lipid profile. J Clin Pathol 2000; 53: 873-874.
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