Both skin tags and warts are generally benign. Warts are contagious where skin tags are not. Though skin tags are often mistaken for warts, their origins are entirely different.
What Causes Skin Tags?
Skin tags are simple skin growths that appear as a result of skin friction. That is, a fold of skin rubbing on another fold of skin. The cause of skin tags is why overweight people have a higher prevalence of the condition, as well as women with larger breasts. They may also be more prevalent where hormone levels are increased such as during pregnancy.
What Causes Warts?
Viruses in the human papillomavirus family cause warts. There are at least 100 types of the virus to which most people are in contact with daily. The virus will cause a wart when it enters through a skin lesion such as a hang nail. The most common way to contract the virus is through skin-to-skin contact, though you can contract it from doorknobs and such.
Are Skin Tags Dangerous?
Skin tags may often be mistaken for something else because they tend to mimic other skin conditions such as moles, warts, seborrheic keratosis, cysts, milia, and neurofibromas. Very rarely are true skin tags dangerous or will they become dangerous if left untreated.
If you notice any changes in size or color in your skin tag it may be a good idea to seek medical advice. A skin tag does not change in size or color so though skin tags are generally benign, you may have misdiagnosed your skin tag.
A Skin Tag by Any Other Name
Skin tags have several medical designations the most common of which is acrochordon. A skin tag may also be referred to as a soft fibroma, fibroepithelial polyp, or cutaneous papilloma.
“Skin Tag.” MedicineNet.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 May 2011. www.medicinenet.com/skin_tag/page5.htm
“What Causes Common Warts? Viruses and Skin Warts .” WebMD – Better information. Better health.. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 May 2011. <http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/features/viruses-cause-skin-warts>.