What's the Difference Between a Mole and a Skin Tag and How Do I Get Rid of Them?

Most people have something about the way they look that they’d like to change. One complaint from both men and women is skin imperfections like moles and skin tags. Both types of skin growths are common but can be unsightly and embarrassing.

If you have a bothersome skin growth, it’s time to find what you can do about it. Learn more about the differences between moles and skin tags and how to get rid of them once and for all.

Florence Wandisan-Rosete, MD, and Rollie Rosete, MD, along with our team at Wandisan-Rosete Medical Group located in Tracy, California, are experts in diagnosing and treating skin issues like moles and skin tags.

Characteristics of a mole

A mole is an often seen form of skin growth. Moles can vary greatly in size and shape, from small dots to large spots greater than one inch in diameter. They may be flush with skin or raised and can appear anywhere on your body.

Most moles are darker than your natural skin tone. They form when melanin, the pigment that gives your skin color, collects in a specific area. Common coloring includes brown, nearly black, yellow, or blue-gray. 

Some types of moles are cancerous, but most are harmless. Changes in size, shape, or color can be a sign of cancer. Whether you’re concerned about the potential of cancer or you’re bothered by the look of a mole, they can be removed.

Characteristics of a skin tag

A skin tag is a small oval-shaped growth that grows outward from your skin. They’re harmless and soft and often form in areas of the body where skin folds or rubs together. Common spots for skin tags include the eyelids, neck, underarms, and groin area.

Skin tags are usually skin-colored or slightly darker. They don’t usually cause pain, but they can get irritated if they rub on jewelry or clothing. The exact cause of skin tags is unknown. Some people develop many skin tags throughout their life, while others never experience them. 

Mole and skin tag removal

Most of the time, moles and skin tags are harmless. But, that doesn’t mean they aren’t annoying or embarrassing. If you’re bothered by skin imperfections like moles or skin tags, getting rid of them is a simple procedure that can be done in our office. 

For moles, we begin by cleaning and numbing the area around the mole. We then surgically remove it and close the wound with a bandage or a few stitches, if necessary. If a mole looks suspicious, we can perform a biopsy on the tissue to determine if cancer is present.

There are several treatment options for skin tags, depending on their size and location. We may use liquid nitrogen to freeze the skin tag or a specialized needle to burn it. In some cases, cutting the skin tag off with surgical scissors is all that’s required to remove it.

Mole and skin tag removal procedures take just a few minutes. Dr. Wandisan-Rosete or Dr. Rosete will give you guidelines to care for your skin as it heals. You can generally return to your normal activities immediately after leaving our office.

If you have a mole or skin tag you want to get rid of, contact us for an appointment today.  

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