Difference Between Skin Tags And Warts

difference between skin tags and warts

I used to have skin tags on my body, particularly around the neck and back area. When I first got them, I didn’t know what they really were. I assumed it was a wart or a skin tag but I didn’t know much about either one so I wasn’t sure. There’s nothing worse than having a growth on your skin and not knowing what it is. I can understand how frustrating it can be and all the aggravation and mystery that comes along with having them.

What is the difference between skin tags and warts? Skin tags are balls of skin that hang from the surface of the skin while a wart is a hard bump that lies deep in the skin. A skin tag is not contagious while warts are. Warts develop from coming in contact with a wart virus while skin tags develop without any contact. Because warts are contagious, it’s important to have it removed quickly while skin tags can remain without any concern. 

The following article will cover the difference between the two in complete detail including more photos to help you identify each one. I’ll also let you know the most common ways to remove each one, at the doctor and home. So get ready, because here is the differences between skin tags and warts.

The Difference Between Skin Tags And Warts


Warts develop by coming in contact with someone else with a wart virus. It can happen by shaking hands or using the same towel as someone with a wart virus. Warts are more common to children because they can spread from scratches and injuries that children are prone to and are less immune. Skin tags are not caused by coming in contact with someone else. Skin tags are caused by skin friction, pregnancy related issues and insulin resistance. I wrote a whole blog post on skin tags and more detail about the causes. You can check it by clicking right here.


Warts are hard bumps that lie deep in the skin. They are mostly skin colored but can be darker. Skin tags are balls of skin that hang from the surface of the skin, not underneath the skin like warts and they hang from a narrow or thick base called a stalk. Skin tags are usually skin colored but can also be darker.


The wart virus causes extra cell growth making the skin thick and hard in that spot causing a bump. Warts are usually found on the hands and feet but can appear anywhere. Skin tags are usually found in skin folds on the neck, under arms, eyelids but can be found anywhere.

difference between warts and skin tags


Warts are contagious, and they can spread by touching other people. Any physical contact or touching the same towel or surface with another person can spread them. Warts can also spread from one part of your body to another. Skin tags are not contagious.


Warts, although not dangerous or cancerous, start from a virus and like all viruses, they’re contagious. Skin tags are also not dangerous or cancerous but unlike warts are not contagious.


Because a wart virus is contagious, it’s important to have it removed quickly before you spread the wart virus onto someone else. Since a skin tag is not contagious, it doesn’t have to be removed unless it’s for cosmetic purposes or if the skin tag becomes irritated from tight clothing or jewelry.

Most warts will go away on their own, but it can take up to 2 years. For warts, people often get home removal wrong and stop the treatment before it’s effective. Most over-the-counter wart removers take at least several weeks of use to see results. A Dermatologist will usually freeze the wart which kills the cells containing the virus. The doctor might also burn it off, use chemicals or laser.

With skin tags many people attempt to remove them at home also. There are several over-the-counter removal systems. There’s a safe natural home method that works in a little as 3 days on some. You can read about it in my blog post review right here. A dermatologist typically has 3 common methods to remove them. They can freeze it off, burn them off with a cautery tool or surgically remove them with a scalpel or scissors.

skin tags and warts


There are many ways warts can be prevented:

  • Don’t share towels or personal items with others.
  • Always wear shoes in public pool areas, showers or locker rooms.
  • Clean your hands regularly.
  • Avoid physical contact with other warts.
  • Keep cuts dry and clean.
  • Keep your warts dry.
  • If possible, cover you’re warts.
  • Leave your warts alone, don’t touch or scratch them.

How to prevent skin tags:

  • Keep all skin folds as dry as possible including armpits, fat folds and thigh areas.
  • Apply baby powder to areas of your body that rub on other skin.
  • Don’t wear tight clothing or jewelry especially around the neck area.
  • Improve your diet and lose body fat. This can help your insulin resistance and lessen fat folds in your skin.
  • Stay physical active about 20 to 30 minutes a day to keep body fat levels low.

Related Questions

How long does a wart virus live on a surface? The wart virus that causes warts on the bottom of your feet are so virulent, they can stay alive on a floor surface for up to 20 months. Most of the viruses lives around 48 hours in the air and on surfaces, but under the right conditions can live up to a week.

Can skin tags spread? While it’s possible for new skin tags to grow on your skin, skin tags are not contagious and do not spread. They are mostly caused by skin friction, insulin resistance and effects of pregnancy like hormones and weight gain.


If you found this skin tag article interesting, check out these related skin tag articles found in this same website:

Tom Johnson

Hi, I'm Tom Johnson, and I've spent years conducting extensive research, testing and have a passion for any topic related to skin tags. You can read more here About Me

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