Warts v Verrucas v Skin Tags: What’s the Difference?

Written and Reviewed by Dr. Uzma Qureshi
Published on: 12/05/2022

MySkyn offers skin tag, wart and verruca removal at our Clinic in Bradford. We group these three conditions together because the removal techniques are similar.

However, we have many clients who come to us during the consultation phase unsure of what kind of lesion they have, only knowing that they want it gone.

Lesions like skin tags, warts and verrucas can cause irritation in daily life and people go to great lengths to hide them from sight due to embarrassment.

But what’s the difference between these three skin growths, and how can you tell them apart?


Warts are skin infections caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV).

The most common type of wart is a firm, rough growth that looks a little like a miniature cauliflower head. They are usually the colour of your skin, if not slightly darker.

However, there are warts that can spread over a larger area, such as plane warts, which look like a rash of round, flat spots and sometimes appear yellow in colour.

Mosaic warts also spread out in crusty clusters and are most common on the hands and feet.

Warts in general are mostly located on the palms, knuckles, knees, fingers and soles of the feet. Yet, warts can appear anywhere on the body and some unlucky people get them on their face.

It is important to wash your hands after touching a wart so that you do not spread it elsewhere on your body.

Warts are not normally painful unless pressed on, but they can be easily irritated and itch.



If you have a lesion that fits the following identifiers, it is likely a verruca:

  • It’s on your foot
  • It has a hard, raised feel
  • There are tiny black dots under the hard skin

Verrucas are a type of wart and are therefore also caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). They are one of the most contagious types of wart, so hygiene is essential if you think you may have one.

To prevent spreading a verruca to someone else, wash your hands after touching it, change your socks daily, don’t share towels, and cover it with a plaster if going swimming or barefoot in a public place.

Verrucas can be quite painful if they are in an inconvenient location on your foot. If they rub or are aggravated by walking, you may experience a sharp, shooting pain, like standing on a needle.

Verruca & Warts Treatments at MySkyn Clinic in Bradford

Skin Tags

Though they can look similar, skin tags are very different to warts and verrucas. They are not caused by a virus at all. Instead, skin tags are formed by the body itself.

Skin tags are formed from loose collagen fibres and blood vessels and are covered by skin.

Skin tags are often:

  • Small, soft, brown or skin-coloured growths that ‘hang’ from the surface of the skin
  • A few millimetres up to 5cm wide
  • Found in folds of the body where skin rubs together (e.g. neck, armpits or groin)

Skin tags can also be found under the breasts, on the eyelids or under the buttocks. They are more common in older people, pregnant women, people who are obese and people who have type 2 diabetes.

You can usually tell skin tags apart from warts, because skin tags are smoother and softer. They are knobbly and hang off the skin, where as warts are slightly raised or flat. Skin tags will not cause a sudden outbreak of growths, because they are not contagious. You may have many in one place, but they will form over time.

Skin tags are common and completely harmless, but they can cause irritation or even bleed if they catch on jewellery or clothing.

Wart v Verruca v Skin Tag Removal

Warts and Verrucas usually disappear on their own, but this may take months or even years. Likewise, skin tags can fall off naturally if the tissue twists and dies from a lack of blood supply, but this happens very occasionally.

Sometimes a GP might advise you to tie off the base of a small skin tag with dental floss or cotton to forcefully cut off blood supply and cause the skin tag to drop off. Never attempt to remove large skin tags yourself because they will bleed heavily.

You can purchase creams, sprays and special plasters designed to treat warts and verrucas from pharmacies, but these treatments can take months to complete and may not even work in the end. Many people find that a wart or verruca will disappear only to come back with a vengeance years later.

The most common cosmetic removal techniques for warts, verrucas and skin tags are:

  • Cryotherapy – The use of liquid gas to freeze the lesion so that it naturally falls away. Cryotherapy can have immediate results, but sometimes it takes a week for the lesion to drop off. This therapy is less effective for skin tags.
  • Laser surgery – An intense beam of light is used to burn off warts and verrucas on the feet. It is normally recommended only for long-standing, widespread and painful warts.
  • Electrocautery – Electricity is used to heat a needle which is placed on the lesion (usually warts). This burns the skin tissue, removing the lesion.
  • Minor Surgery – The use of a small blade or scalpel to remove a lesion. This is the most effective method of skin tag removal. Some warts or verrucas can have a deeper root in the skin and surgery is the best way to eradicate them completely.

All skin tag, wart and verruca removal is carried out under a local anaesthetic to numb any pain or discomfort. The procedure is very quick and no downtime is required.

If you would like more information or would like to consult with a skin specialist about a type of skin growth you may have, please phone 01274 921121 or contact the Bradford MySkyn Clinic online today. We are a CQC registered clinic and speak both Urdu and Punjabi if you require.

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My:Skyn is an all female run clinic. We speak both Urdu and Punjabi if you require.

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