skin growth

Understanding Skin Growths: Differentiating Skin Tags, Moles, and Warts

Skin growths can be cause for alarm for some people, while for others, they may not need the attention of a skin specialist. Dermatology treatment plans are usually directed at a skin growth that changes over time in shape, size, colour, and/or dimension. Some growths can cause irritation, bleeding, or perhaps embarrassment. These types of skin growths can be present shortly after birth or throughout different life stages.

Types of Skin Growths

It should be noted that while most skin growths are physically harmless, there are three main types of growths that may cause concern or lead to serious health issues. Any new or changing skin growths should be addressed by a professional skin specialist as a biopsy may be needed to evaluate the properties of the growth.

Skin Tags

Skin tags may appear as flesh coloured or a deep pigmented shade near the eyelids or on the arms, neck, or underarms. They are generally painless unless rubbed by clothing or jewellery.

People with small skin tags may opt for skin tag removal in order to reduce the appearance and/or reduce irritation.


Moles range in small to larger sizes and are usually flat but can be raised above the skin surface. Found anywhere across the body, these markings can be black, brown, red, or yellow in colour. Moles that change in size and colour over time may become cancerous and require the assistance of a dermatologist for mole removal in Brampton.


A wart is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) and can be easily transmitted among people as well as from other parts of the body. There are five types of warts ranging in colour, size, and location on the body. Common, plantar, flat, filiform, and periungual warts all develop as hard bumps from underneath the skin surface. Most warts require wart removal procedures.

The Differences Between Skin Tags, Moles, and Warts           


Skin Tags

Skin Moles



Small extensions of skin attached by a stalk

Small, round, and evenly pigmented


Raised and bumpy


Flesh-coloured or slightly brown

Varies in colour

Flesh-coloured, white, or gray


Smooth and soft

Smooth or slightly raised

Rough and uneven


Found in areas of friction

Anywhere on the body

Areas that come into contact with HPV



Sun damage and genetics

Various strains of HPV

Treatment Required

Not necessary unless irritation persists


Needed with changing in size, shape, or colour

Painful or if spread to other areas

Cancer Risk

Extremely rare

Some may develop into melanoma

HPV can increase the risk of developing cancer

Preventative Measures for Skin Growths 

While most skin growths cannot be prevented, there are steps to take to reduce the chance of new growths forming or existing ones from changing to a serious situation. Inspect all areas of the skin regularly to detect any changes in existing skin growths and look for new growths.

Dermatologists recommend avoiding sun exposure when possible and using a sunscreen with a SPF of 30 or higher on a daily basis, year-round. It is also advised to keep all areas of the skin clean with mild soap and to always rinse the skin after use of hot tubs or when swimming to remove any chemicals or saltwater.

Consult with a Registered Dermatologist in Brampton

Discuss any skin growth concerns with a certified dermatologist in Brampton. A physical examination of the growth and other existing moles, skin tags, or warts will determine if a biopsy is necessary for further evaluation. The specialist will discuss viable treatments for the best outcome.

The basic ABCs to know when examining skin growths for cancerous melanoma are:

  1. Asymmetry: sides do not match
  2. Border: edges are ragged or blurred
  3. Colour: not uniform as varying shades are present
  4. Diameter: larger than six millimeters in diameter
  5. Evolving: appearance changes over time

Get Professional Medical Advice with Any Skin Growth at Heart Lake Health Centre

At Heart Lake Health Centre, our certified dermatologist, Dr. Samir Gupta, and his team of specialists can assess and treat any skin growths. With modern non-surgical and surgical treatments, we can remove skin tags, moles, warts, and cysts. While these and other aesthetic services are not covered by OHIP, we do offer services to anyone in the Brampton, Mississauga, and Caledon areas.

Contact us today at (905) 846-9255 to book an appointment for a referral to one of our specialists.

Heart Lake Health Center

For the past 25 years, Heart Lake Health Centre has been providing trusted medical services with dedicated industry professionals. Our team is combined of doctors who specialize in family medicine, urology, physical medicine, dermatology, pediatrics, podiatry, and cardiology. At Heart Lake Health Centre, our top priority is the health of you and your family’s. You can rely on our healthcare professionals to ensure an A-grade experience.