The Difference Between Moles and Skin Tags

Moles and skin tags are two of the most common skin blemishes. While most of the time they are benign, they can be unsightly and irritate. Since many people don’t know the differences between them, they don’t know when it’s appropriate to seek out medical attention.

So what is the difference between moles and skin tags?

The most crucial difference is that moles are formed when melanocytes skin cells cluster in one spot. Skin tags are small benign tumors that tend to grow in places where the skin rubs together.

Looking at the differences between moles and skin tags.

Important Differences Between Moles And Skin Tags

As stated above, moles are clusters of skin cells that can appear anywhere on the body. Most people get all of their moles before the age of 25, and the average person has 10-20 moles. They grow slowly over the years and can be flat, but they are more often raised. They are usually symmetrical and circular in shape and black or brown. Moles can change over time, especially in women after they have children.

Skin tags tend to form in creases or where the skin rubs together. Armpits, where thighs touch, and in the creases of your elbows and behind the knee are the most common places. They are benign tumors, or growths, that are typically painless as well. Unlike moles, which are dark, skin tags should be a close shade to your skin tone.

Types of moles

Most moles are called common moles and don’t cause any issues. They are usually smaller than the diameter of a pencil eraser and have even edges and coloration. Atypical moles are larger than a pencil eraser, aren’t evenly shaped, and have multiple colors. They can fade from dark brown, black, pink, or even tan colors throughout. Congenital moles are moles that are there when you are born. They can be any size and can increase the risk of melanoma. A Spitz nevus is a pink mole that is shaped like a dome. It should be watched closely for changes. An acquired mole is a mole that shows up on the skin after birth.

Are moles or skin tags cancerous?

Moles themselves are not cancerous, but they can develop into cancer. When the melanocytes are damaged, they can grow into irregular shapes and become melanoma. The most important factors to watch out for are asymmetry, border, color, diameter, and evolving. These factors are considered the ABCDE’s of skin cancer. If your mole starts to change shape, bleeds, gets a scaly texture, changes color, or grows larger, it’s time to get checked by a dermatologist.

Additionally, you’re at higher risk for skin cancer if you have 50 or more moles on your body. If you are at higher risk, you should check your moles regularly for changes. If you have moles that appear when you turn 20-25 years old, you should also be sure to watch them closely.

While skin tags are small tumors with fat, skin, and nerve cells, they are not cancerous. They are usually so little that they go unnoticed. They are not likely to become cancerous, unlike moles, but if you notice any strange changes, it doesn’t hurt to get it checked out by a dermatologist.

When should you get a mole or skin tag removed?

Since skin tags are not harmful, most people choose to live with them. However, they can grow large and so it is possible to ask your doctor to remove them. It’s a simple procedure that can usually be done in a dermatologist’s office. The most common ways to remove a skin tag are to freeze them off with liquid nitrogen or to cauterize them. If your skin tag bleeds, gets infected, or if there is redness or swelling on or near it, these are all signs that you should see your doctor.

Moles are a little more tricky. If you have a mole that looks off, your doctor will first evaluate its size and shape. Typically, they will complete a full-body assessment to determine if there are any other moles of concern. Anything they believe to be precancerous or cancerous, they will biopsy and have tested. Those moles will often be removed in layers at a single appointment to ensure they get all of the cancerous cells. Depending on how deep cancer goes, you may need additional plastic surgery to reduce the appearance of the spot where the cancer was removed. Another method is to stitch the hole closed if possible.

Can you prevent moles or skin tags?

Yes and no. You can reduce the risk of both moles and skin tags from forming, but there isn’t anything you can do to prevent them 100% of the time.

Moles are influenced by sunlight. Because of this, the best way to reduce the likelihood of getting new ones is to reduce your sun exposure, especially on your face. Facial moles get the most sun exposure, which makes them susceptible to growing larger and turning into cancer. It’s essential to use a quality sunscreen with at least SPF 15 and a hat if you are outside for an extended amount of time. Don’t forget to reapply the sunscreen every 2 hours or so and try to avoid the sun during the harshest parts of the day, which is 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Can’t overstate the importance of protection from the sun

If you or a close relative have a history of skin cancer, it’s best to wear sun-protective clothing on your arms and legs as well. Suitable clothing will not only reduce your risk of getting new moles, but it will also reduce the risk of the moles you have from becoming cancerous.

Since skin tags are formed by rubbing, especially skin against skin, you can minimize your risk of getting one if you do a few things regularly. It’s best to wear clothing that is soft and breathable. Don’t let your skin rub against itself too often. Leg chaffing from your thighs touching can lead to skin tags, so wear shorts, pants, or leggings that don’t allow your skin to touch.

It’s not too hard to tell the difference between the average mole and the average skin tag. It’s vital to know how changes to either one of them can affect your health, so you know when to seek medical attention.

Skin Tags On Dogs – What They Are And How To Remove

Safe And Natural Ways to Treat Your Dog At Home

Skin tags are common on human people (muggles?!), but did you know that skin tags on dogs are also common?

The great thing about writing about dogs is that you can include cute dog photos!

What Are Skin Tags?

They are benign growths that are generally skin-colored and are small bulbs made up of loose skin. In humans, they are usually about the size of a small pencil eraser. While most skin tags remain small, others may grow to the size of a standard grape.

Proportionately the same is true for our canine friends.

Canine skin tags are very similar to what humans get.

Skin tags are generally harmless growths. Most dogs will develop one or two skin tags during their lifetime, but it is also not unusual for some to develop hundreds of them. They develop equally in male and female dogs. And just like with humans, skin tags seem to be more frequent in dogs who are overweight.

While some skin tags may fall off without being cut or frozen off, most of them are persistent and will remain unless they are physically removed. In the world of medicine, the correct term for a skin tag is acrochordon.

Can Dogs Get Skin Tags And What Are The Causes?

Skin Tag On Dog
Photo of skin tags on a dog’s eye.

While there is no single established reason why skin tags develop on dogs, there are many reasons veterinarians suspect. Here are some of the most common reasons:

Your Pet’s Age

In humans, skin tags are frequently a very normal part of getting older. The same is true for your furry friend.

Should these be a matter of concern? Not really. Skin tags that develop on the chest and stomach of your dog should cause no problem and may best be left alone.

It is not uncommon for older dogs to develop skin tags on the eyes and face and tummy.

If skin tags develop around your dog’s eyes, in the tender under-arm area, or around his muzzle, however, you may want to have him looked at by a vet.

A word to the wise: Do not attempt to remove skin tags in these delicate areas without medical supervision.

Exposure To Elements

Your pet’s environment is still another possible contributor to skin tags in dogs.

Dogs that spend a great deal of time outdoors are frequently exposed to garden chemicals and pesticides. This is especially true for dogs that hang out in the backyard. Home based chemicals and pesticides may irritate the skin and provoke tags and other growths.


Genetics and DNA will play a large part in whether a dog has skin tags and moles and other skin conditions.

We know that medical conditions can be passed down from generation to generation in humans. The same is true for dogs. If your puppy develops skin tags, there is a better than average chance that their parents or grandparents had developed them also.

Genetics, therefore, may be one of the most obvious reasons your dog develops skin tags.

Vermin & Parasites

Obviously, you try hard to prevent fleas, ticks and lice from gaining access to and attacking your pet. Even so, sometimes it is impossible to keep your animal parasite free.

Skin tags may be caused by vermin such as fleas, mites, ticks, etc. Frequently these may appear after your dog has been treated for parasites.


Not unlike their human counterparts, our canine friends require good hygiene. Many experts feel skin tags on dogs are a result of the animal not being bathed often enough. The dirt and oil that develops and builds up in and under a dog’s coat may encourage their development.

Skin Care Products & Shampoos

Just like humans, dogs may have allergic reactions to various shampoos and skin care products. It is always a good idea to use shampoos and other product that are hypoallergenic and contain no substances that may cause irritation to your dog’s skin.

What should you do when your dog develops a skin tag?

Some dog owners become anxious and upset when they discover any type of skin growth on their pet. Often, they may feel these are dangerous and may indicate some form of cancer.

Remember that most skin tags, including those on dogs, are benign. There are, however, other skin growths, including lumps, that may be more ominous. For this reason, it is always a good idea to have your animal checked by your vet.

Skin tags on dogs are most often painless. Check your dog by very gently touching the growth to see if your animal shows signs of discomfort. If your pet gives you no obvious reaction by whimpering or trying to get away from your touch, the chances are good you are dealing with a simple skin tag.

On the other hand, if your dog displays a sensitivity or displays signs of pain or discomfort, get hold of your vet to have the animal thoroughly examined.

While skin tags are generally painless for dogs, some more potentially dangerous growths will often cause your animal pain or discomfort when touched.

A skin tag on a dog is generally only a few millimeters long and will most often be the color of your dog’s skin. If you are familiar with skin tags in humans, be assured they look very much the same on your pet.

As a rule, however, there are mast-cell tumors that can closely resemble skin tags. These may develop at any stage of your dog’s life – even when your dog is young. Note that these normally appear on the dog’s underside.

If you are not sure what skin tags are or how they should appear, then you should take a look at photos of skin tags on dogs.

How To Remove Skin Tags On Your Dog At Home

Once you are certain you are dealing with a doggie skin tag, you may choose to remove it.

There are a couple of basic ways to remove skin tags on dogs. Each requires specific supplies. It would also be good to have someone help you who is familiar to your dog. While you are removing the skin tag, your partner may be able to keep your pet calm and relaxed.

Tying Off The Skin Tag

This procedure requires rubbing alcohol, a good pair of sterilized scissors, a length of dental floss (you may also use fishing line) and new razor. It would also be good to have a cone collar to prevent your pet from biting or chewing at the skin tag.

Many pet owners choose not to have to cut off the skin tag. One of the best ways to prevent this is by tying off the unwanted growth. This home remedy seems to be most successful when the skin tag is longer.

Often there is a big piece of skin that looks somewhat like a small piece of string, with the actual tag at the end. This allows you to hold the tag between two fingertips.

While one individual sets up the materials, the other should gently pet the dog and put it at ease. Then, when the dog must be held down, it will be more accepting.

First you need to shave off any hair right around the skin tag. Once that is done, you need to use the rubbing alcohol to completely disinfect the area.

Now tear off approximately 12 inches of dental floss and tightly wrap it around the bottom part of the skin tag. While you are not injuring your pet, he may at first whimper and indicate he is in some discomfort. After a minute or two your dog’s mild panic should pass as he gets used to the feeling.

The next step is to put the cone collar around your pet’s neck. This will prevent him from nibbling away at the string.

You can expect the skin tag to fall off after about three or four days. The growth should not return after this procedure.

Cutting Off The Skin Tag

This remedy requires cotton balls, rubbing alcohol, a razor, iodine, bandages and a pair of mayo scissors. You should also have a bowl filled with water and another bowl for the scissors. You also will need a soldering pen, a new razor, and some gauze bandages.

This procedure removes skin tags by simply cutting the growth off.

Start by shaving hair off the area around the skin tag. Disinfect the scissors in the rubbing alcohol. Dab rubbing alcohol around the skin tag.

Next, mix iodine in the water (make a 10% solution) and dab it onto the skin tag.

Next, cut the skin tag at its base and quickly cauterize the cut with a soldering pen. Place the gauze bandage onto the affected area. Make certain it is completely covered and secure.

Then simply wait for it to heal.

The Most Recommended Procedure

The safest and best recommendation we can make is for you to simply leave the skin tag on your dog alone.

Chances are your vet has confirmed that the skin tag will not harm your pet. Therefore, there is no good reason (other than cosmetic) to remove it!

Remember, skin tags on dogs are not uncommon. Most often they are benign growths that do not cause any harm or discomfort to your pet. Therefore, most vets will recommend that they be left alone. Keep in mind that anything you do to remove skin tags will cause your dog some level of discomfort. Therefore, why not do the most loving thing and leave them alone!