Home / Health / Skin tags vs. Moles – how to tell the difference

Skin tags vs. Moles – how to tell the difference

Your skin is amazing. It is not only the largest organ of the body. It also helps you regulate body temperature and protect against microbes and other elements. dangerous including other works One of the most important things that makes us all unique. Including the growth of different skin as well.

Close-up of woman wearing glasses: AdobeStock

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Close-up of a woman wearing glasses: Usually both are harmless.  but may still need to be removed in some cases

© AdobeStock
Both are usually harmless. but may still need to be removed in some cases.

Skin tags and moles are two major growths that can show up on your surface. And fortunately, they are usually harmless. (But sometimes annoying) And while the two types of points are similar, they are similar. But they are quite different.

Here’s what you need to know about the difference between skin tags and moles. including when it should be removed and how to do it in general.

What are skin tags?

Skin tags are technically known as acrochordons and are small, benign skin growths, according to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology (AOCD), Joshua Zeichner, MD, deputy director of cosmetic research and dermatology. “Skin tags are harmless,” the dermatology clinic at Mount Sinai Hospital says. health“They’re called tags because they typically have a narrow base and protrude from the skin like a tag.”

Arm tattoo: DermNet NZ

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DermNet NZ

It’s estimated that about half of all adults have at least one skin tag. But it often happens in overweight bodies or in people with diabetes, according to the AOCD. That’s because of skin tags. “It often occurs in the areas of friction, such as the armpits, under the breasts, and neck,” says Mary L. Stevenson, MD, a dermatologist in New York City. health. So with a larger shape Skin tags can therefore grow between the skin folds. “However, the skin tag is [also] It’s determined by your genetics, and in some cases slimmers can still develop them,” adds Dr. Sechner.

What are moles?

A mole, also known as a nevi, is a common spot or blister that grows on your skin. “Most are flat and dark in color,” Dr. Zeichner says, according to the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA). although other parts It may be raised and has a pink or light color. These are harmless skin cells. (These cells are called melanocytes. which is a cell that produces melanin in the epidermis which makes its skin color)

Moles can be congenital, meaning you were born with them, or acquired them, meaning they appear throughout life. “People usually start to develop moles around age 3 or 4.” Dr. Zeichner says. years, and it is considered normal for new moles to continue until the age of 30.

Close-up of measurement: DermNet NZ

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DermNet NZ

You can also have common moles, which are smaller and more consistent. or abnormal moles (called dysplastic nevi), which means they are larger than normal moles and have some abnormalities, such as multiple colors and uneven edges. Another important thing: Moles can also be cancerous. also known as melanoma This is the deadliest form of skin cancer and can (rarely) show up on existing moles or from previously clear skin.

Video: What is a cancerous mole? Symptoms, causes and treatments explained by a dermatologist (Health.com).

What is a cancerous mole? Symptoms, causes and treatments explained by a dermatologist.



Moles, like skin tags, can be a result of genetics, Dr. Stevenson says. “Many families have a lot of moles or are prone to tags,” she says, but moles can be a result of sun exposure in particular.

Related: What Is a Cancer Mole? Symptoms, causes and treatments explained by a dermatologist.

Are there any risks associated with skin tags or moles?

“Skin tags are totally benign,” says Debra Jaliman, MD, board-certified dermatologist and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. health“They are flesh-colored and small in size and do not cause pain. But sometimes it can cause irritation from clothes. [or jewelry]”

In some cases, since skin tags are closely related to larger bodies, So it’s possible for a large number of skin tags to occur in a person. One could be a sign of diabetes or another medical condition. associated with increased weight If it’s important to you to see a doctor.

Moles are usually harmless for the most part. But a new mole or an altered mole can be a problem. If you’ve had moles, either common or unusual, for a while and haven’t seen any changes. in appearance It’s not a concern But when the mole begins to change color, size, shape, or show any asymmetry. Your doctor will need to perform another surgery for you. Just like if you see a new mole appear later on your skin, Dr. Zeichner says, “I usually recommend that my patients have a mole examined in the office. If the existing mole has changed or if they get a new spot after age 30, they should be evaluated.”

A good rule of thumb for moles is to be mindful of the “ABCDE method,” which means checking for asymmetry, contour, color, diameter. and the evolution or transformation of moles According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), any changes in these moles could mean skin cancer. Therefore, the mole in question must be removed and examined.

Related: What to Expect Before, During, and After a Mole Removal according to experts

How are skin tags and moles removed?

for clarity It is not necessary to remove skin tags unless they cause discomfort to the patient. And the mole needs to be removed only if a dermatologist finds it related to

Skin tags can be removed in one of three ways: excision with small surgical scissors, incineration (electrical), or freezing. Unfortunately, skin tag removal is considered cosmetic. “This procedure is not covered by insurance,” says Dr. Zeichner.

That doesn’t mean you should go for a DIY approach. “I don’t recommend trying to remove skin tags at home. because they tend to bleed profusely which is difficult to treat at home,” he said. “Also, it should be done under the right conditions to reduce the risk of infection.”

About a new mole or a change Your dermatologist may first perform an in-office biopsy. “This may involve a surface scraping or a small wound in the skin followed by stitching,” says Dr. Zeichner. The sample is then sent to a lab for results. And if cells return abnormally, more moles (or all moles) may be removed, Dr. Zeichner said.

Three options for mole removal are biopsy. biopsy and surgical excision, said Ata Moshiri, MD, a certified dermatologist who specializes in melanoma treatment at the University of Washington Medicine, previously said. health. To remove moles from which skin cancer is detected Rather than removing moles, Dr. Zeichner says, “Larger pieces of skin are removed to ensure a clear edge is left so no abnormal cells are left. “When skin cancer or abnormal moles are detected early, can be completely eliminated.”

RELATED: This Woman Had to Wait 4 Months to Get a Mole Checked And it turns out that she has skin cancer.

Can you prevent skin tags or moles?

There is absolutely no way to prevent growths or spots on your skin. Skin tags are often hereditary. and tends to grow without a specific cause. But considering its innocuous nature You shouldn’t worry about protection. Because it will not affect your health.

Moles are similar because “Determined by your genetics So there’s no way to prevent it,” Dr. Zeichner said. We recommend applying sunscreen regularly because we know that UV exposure can be harmful to the skin and is the biggest risk factor for the development of skin cancer, such as melanoma. pigment The cells within the mole can lead to cancerous changes,” he said. You might consider wearing protective clothing such as a hat and long sleeves. when in the sun for a long time

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