Moles and skin tags are two types of skin lesions that can affect anyone. Though they are not dangerous, some moles can develop into skin cancer. So it’s better to periodically check them for anything alarming. However the problem is that some people find it rather difficult differentiating between a skin tag and a mole. So here are some tips to learn to differentiate between the two.
Skin tags and Its Causes
Skin tags are small flaps of skin that is flesh colored and connected to the body via a small stalk. These skin tags are made of collagen, blood and skin cells and are non-cancerous or benign. There are three main causes for skin tags which are:
- Friction: The rubbing of skin on skin is the foremost skin tag cause. This explains why skin tags are found in places where there are folds like beneath the arms, buttock and stomach creases, neck regionand usually on eyelids.
- Hormones: An imbalance of hormone levels in the body can lead to an excessive production of collagen and consequent production of skin tags. Moreover, there is a marked relationship between skin lesions and female hormones.
- Type 2 diabetes: Type 2 diabetes can indirectly lead to the formation of skin tags as it can lead to obesity, which in turn can create creases in the skin. Some studies have also proven that there is some connection between tags and insulin resistance. One of the signs of this diabetes is insulin resistance, and studies show that tags do disappear just by treating this symptom.
Moles are a different color than the surrounding skin color. Though they are mainly dark brown and black in color, they may at times occur in different colors like blue, green, yellow or red. While moles occur in various sizes and shapes, they are usually tiny with an oval or round shape and appear flat or heightened above the skin.
Moles occur as clusters or a collection of melanocytes. Melanocytes are pigment producing skin cells found on the body, and are responsible for providing the pigment or color to hair and skin. It is when these cells form groups that they produce lots of melanin in an area to give the darker colored moles. Sometimes moles can develop to melanoma, which is a type of skin cancer. It is those who have atypical or congenital moles who are at more of a risk.
Causes for Moles
- Sunlight: Sunlight increases the production of melanin, which in turn causes more moles to appear and existing ones grow darker or larger.
- Genetics: Some people genetically suffer from congenital or atypical moles. These moles can grow to a maximum of 20 cm, have jagged ends and a mixed color, and have a tendency of getting cancerous.
How to Tell the Difference
The best way to tell the difference between a skin tag and a mole is by taking a look at its color as skin tags are skin color. If skin tags obstruct you in anyway, you can easily remove them without worrying about the skin tag having cancerous cells. However if you wish to remove a mole, it should be first checked to decide on the best and safest procedure to use to remove the mole.