Moles Warts and Skin Tags

What is a wart?

A wart is a small hard bump on the skin that varies in size and color. They are caused by the Human Pappiloma Virus, appearing usually on the hands or the feet, and also in the mouth and around the lips. Warts are contagious, so extra care must be taken not to come in contact with someone who has them. Although contagious, warts are non-cancerous. Characteristically, they do go away on their own after a number of years, two or three tops. Depending on the individual, there is a possibility that the warts may recur.

There are different kinds of warts. The most common is rough in texture, dry and may grow anywhere on the body. Flat warts are, of course, flat usually multiple lesions that also grow especially on the face, arms, and the back of hands and legs. Plantar warts grow on the feet, particularly on the sole or ball of the foot.

Genital warts are found around the genital area and the anus. These warts are highly contagious and are responsible for the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STD). Persons who have sexual contact with a partner with genital warts develop STD within three months after contact.

Warts can be removed by any number of medical procedures, like Cryotherapy, where the wart is frozen, then scraped off; or more invasive methods such as Electrocautery, or burning the wart via electric needles, then digging up the charred remnants, and Laser surgery, which is painful and costly. There are, however, simpler home remedies that are very cost-effective and actually work. Applying a salicylic acid solution daily slowly burns the wart off. While more natural, less drastic means are available, such as using clear nail polish on warts, which starves the wart of oxygen.
Duct tape is an effective way of getting rid of warts, by applying a piece of it on the wart itself, suffocating the wart in the process.

What is a mole?

Moles are skin growths composed of pigment cells known as melanocytes. Almost anyone is born with a mole or two (congenital moles), while more develop throughout our life, mostly due to exposure to sunlight. Most of these manifest during the first twenty years of life, and may continue into the thirties and forties, but disappear, however with age. Moles also change appearance, due to hormone changes (pregnancy, adolescence, menopause).

Moles are round or oval with a regular margin. They are usually brown, at times darker in shade. They may be smooth or rough, flat or prominent. Some even show surface hair.

Normally, a mole is no cause for alarm. Except if they go on to develop into a form of skin cancer called malignant melanoma. Having numerous moles of more than twenty-five could mean you are susceptible to melanoma, especially if your family has a history of melanoma. It is usually caused by excessive exposure to sunlight. Melanomas are dark, stain-like, on an area where there was a mole. Or a mole that changes color, shape, or size. Regular examination of your moles is advised, so as to spot this early and have it treated, usually through surgical excision.

What are skin tags?

Skin tags (or acrochordon) are harmless benign skin growths that look like a small piece of hanging skin. Males and females alike, are prone to developing skin tags; some acquire these through an increase in weight or heredity, and also due to unknown causes. Obesity or being overweight increases the chances for skin tags dramatically. Skin tags sprout on the skin from a small, narrow stalk and are usually caused by skin-to-skin friction in areas of the body like the underarms, groins, under breasts, as well as the eyelids, or neck. They are flesh colored, at times a bit darker; smooth and sometimes irregularly wrinkled. Sizes vary from small bumps to half of your small finger’s nail, and some as large as a grape.

Almost anyone can get skin tags at some point of their life. Small children may also acquire skin tags, especially ‘chunky’ kids with a tendency to be overweight. But, they usually pop up in adulthood, and are much more common in middle aged to sixty-ish folks.

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