Warts on the genital region and skin tags are among the most common skin conditions today. It is unlikely that you will go your whole life without experiencing a single one of them.
There quite a number of differences that can be identified when comparing these conditions. This should not fool you however. In fact, most untrained persons can’t successfully tell one from the other.
Before we get down to examining the most common differences, it is important to point out that pictures and images are a great tool that can help you tell one from the other.
What is the difference between genital warts and skin tags?
The main difference between genital warts and skin tags revolves around the cause and appearance. All warts are caused by HPV virus. This is not the same virus that causes herpes on the penis and genitals. Skin tags, on the other hand, arise when two body parts are in contact with one another and produce friction. This includes friction felt during sexual intercourse. It is a main cause of skin tags on the genitals. Any factor that will contribute to these causes will definitely result in either warts or skin tags.
When it comes to appearance, skin tags are more like projections which are connected to the skin by a skinny stalk. This stalk can be easily cut with a razor or a pair of scissors. They take the color of the skin. Warts on the other hand are not projections but skin growths. Their mass is evenly distributed. While some may appear a bit raised, most are flattened on the part of skin they occur. Upon touch, they feel very soft and fleshly. Warts too are skin-colored.
Difference between genital warts and skin tags; what causes them
Sexual intercourse is the main mode of transmission when it comes to genital warts. An infected person can pass the virus even when they don’t show the symptoms. Since it is a viral infection, wart removal can only be done to get rid of the symptoms, namely the the skin growths, but not the virus. In fact, recurrent attacks will continue to occur throughout one’s life.
Skin tags are not typical infections. They in fact will not cause swollen lymph nodes or even pain unless physically injured. When frequent friction is sustained on a part of the body such as the buttocks, inner thighs, under arm and such, a projection will form. It can continue getting bigger with time.
Difference between genital warts and skin tags; identifying them in pictures
If you are to take close-up pictures, genital warts will resemble cauliflowers and should not be confused with genital pimples. Areas around the anus, on the penis shaft, vaginal walls, vulva and penis tip are the most probable areas to find them. Although they may occur on the cervix, chances are high that they will then spread to the outside of the vagina.
Skin tags are unpredictable in regards to where they will occur. In pictures, they should resemble a literal skin-colored tag.
How to treat skin tags and genital warts
While some treatment methods can be used for both, genital warts may need medically prescribed medications to fight the virus.
Treatments for genital warts aim to inhibit the spread of the causal virus and at the same time get rid of the skin growths themselves.
Skin tags treatment methods only aim to get rid of the growths and not the cause. In both cases, clinical treatment may be necessary where home remedies have failed to work.
Remedies such as tea tree oil can be tried on both. They are effective especially for skin tags on the face and other sensitive areas. There also are over the counter removal kits which can be used for the same removal purpose.
Are skin tags and genital warts contagious?
Skin tags do not pass from one person to another. They also do not spread to other body parts courtesy of an initial infection.
Genital warts are, on the other hand, very contagious. They can spread to other people or to other body parts. Just like with herpes, the virus takes advantage of open sores or cracks on the skin for entry points. It is for this reason that it is possible to contract herpes on the leg and other unlikely parts such as the shoulders.