Moles result when cells in the skin, called melanocytes, grow in a cluster with tissue surrounding them. Moles are a common condition and most people will have between 10 and 40 moles. They normally vary in color and can be flesh-colored, brown, pink or tan. What you need to be concerned about with moles is that skin cancer (melanoma) can begin in an existing mole or appear as a growth on the skin that may look like an unusual mole.
It is very important that before you try any form of over-the-counter or home remedy type mole treatment, you learn to identify unusual moles and, if you find any or discover any mole that seems odd or suspicious, have them checked medically. To give you some visual idea of the differences, there are pictures of ordinary moles and unusual ones (called dysplastic nevi by doctors) here: http://www.cancer.gov/cancerinfo/wyntk/moles-and-dysplastic-nevi/page8
Advances in treatment of melanoma have led to an increasing percentage of very early stage detection when treatment is easiest and most successful. If you have a very large number of ordinary moles and/or any unusual moles (dysplastic nevi), then learning about early detection and seeking medical attention is extremely important. Don't neglect it.
Skin tags (acrochordons) are usually small and generally harmless skin growths that most often occur after middle age. They actually stick out of the skin and may have a small and narrow stalk connecting the tag to the surface of the skin. Generally painless, skin tags do not grow or change though they can be irritated if they are rubbed by clothing or other materials. Though usually quite small, some may be up to a half inch long. They appear to be more common in people with diabetes or who are overweight.
Medically, there is no reason to remove skin tags unless they are cosmetically unattractive or become irritated. The usual medical procedures for removal are excision, freezing or burning them off. If however, there is a change in the appearance of a skin tag, seeing your medical practitioner is advisable.
Warts are usually painless skin growths caused by a virus. While mostly harmless they can be extremely unpleasant cosmetically and embarrassing and they can, occasionally, itch or hurt. Plantar warts which are those found on the soles of the feet can be particularly unpleasant because of repeated irritation caused by walking. They may become extremely painful and large numbers of plantar warts on the feet can even cause difficulty in walking as well as running.
Warts often go away on their own, though it can take up to two years which can seem like a very long time. Over-the-counter medications are often successful in removing warts. However, these treatments should definitely not be used on your face or on genital or anal warts. For other types of warts it may also help to actually file down the wart while it is damp before applying OTC medications.
In connection with plantar wart treatment you can also find bandage-like cushions which can help relieve pain and pressure.
Stronger medications are available by prescription and as with moles and skin tags, surgery (excision), freezing, burning or laser treatments can be used.
You may have heard about this interesting method for wart removal that's known as the Duct Tape method. What you do is put a piece of duct tape over the wart for six days. Then take it off in the evening, wet the wart and scrape it down with a file. Put tape back on the next morning for another six days. You keep doing this until the wart disappears but not for more than 2 months. This method seems to work as well as having the warts medically frozen off.
While warts are contagious, getting infected from or infecting another person is infrequent. Still, avoiding contact with a wart on someone else is a good idea. If you file down a wart, be sure to wash the file carefully since you don't want to spread the virus around - and don't forget to wash your hands equally carefully after touching any of your own warts.
Warts are generally harmless, but you should seek medical assistance if:
* There are signs of infection or bleeding that can not be stopped easily by light pressure.
* Over-the-counter or other self-care remedies failed and you want it removed
* The wart is painful
* You have genital or anal warts
* You have diabetes or a weakened immune system
* Any changes in the color or appearance of the wart occur.
With this background and keeping the cautions in mind, you should be much better prepared to evaluate and decide on whichever form of mole, skin tag, wart or plantar wart treatment you want to pursue.