Ask Difference

Moles vs. Warts — What's the Difference?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Fiza Rafique — Published on June 13, 2024
Moles are natural skin growths that can vary in color and size, often benign, while warts are rough skin growths caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), typically harmless but potentially contagious.
Moles vs. Warts — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Moles and Warts


Key Differences

Moles, or nevi, are clusters of pigmented cells that appear as small, dark brown spots on the skin, though their color can range from pink to black. Warts are caused by various strains of HPV and manifest as raised, rough-textured growths on the skin or mucous membranes.
Moles are usually present from birth or develop during childhood and early adulthood, often changing in appearance over time due to factors like sun exposure or hormonal changes. Warts can appear at any age and often develop on the hands, feet, and other parts of the body that come into frequent contact with HPV-contaminated surfaces.
While most moles are benign and pose no health risk, a sudden change in a mole's appearance can be a sign of melanoma, a serious form of skin cancer. Warts, though not associated with cancer, can be uncomfortable, unsightly, and spread to other parts of the body or to other people.
The treatment for moles typically involves monitoring for any changes in size, shape, or color, with surgical removal being an option for those that are suspicious or cosmetically undesirable. Warts can be treated with over-the-counter remedies, cryotherapy, salicylic acid, or other medical interventions to remove the growth.
Moles are generally uniform in color and have a smooth, round shape, ranging from flat to slightly raised from the skin surface. Warts are characterized by their rough surface, and some may have black pinpoints, which are small, clotted blood vessels.

Comparison Chart


Clusters of melanocytes (pigment cells).
Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection.


Uniform color, round, can be flat or raised.
Rough texture, may have black pinpoints.

Common Locations

Anywhere on the body.
Hands, feet, other high-contact areas.

Health Risk

Mostly benign, but changes can indicate melanoma.
Contagious but generally harmless.


Monitoring, surgical removal if necessary.
Over-the-counter remedies, cryotherapy, etc.

Compare with Definitions


Benign skin growths made of pigment cells.
A new mole appeared on her arm during pregnancy.


Rough skin growths caused by HPV.
He treated the wart on his finger with salicylic acid.


Can be an indicator of skin health.
He visited a dermatologist to check the irregular mole.


Commonly found on hands and feet.
A plantar wart made walking uncomfortable for her.


Often round and smooth in texture.
The small, round mole was barely noticeable on her skin.


Contagious through direct contact.
She contracted a wart after using the public gym showers.


Can darken with sun exposure.
The moles on his back darkened after the summer.


Treatable with cryotherapy.
The dermatologist used cryotherapy to freeze off the wart.


Surgical removal for suspicious moles.
She had the mole removed as a precautionary measure.


May disappear on their own over time.
The small wart on his elbow eventually vanished without treatment.


A skin lesion, commonly a nevus, that is typically raised and discolored.


A hard rough lump growing on the skin, caused by infection with certain viruses and occurring typically on the hands or feet.


Plural of mole


An imperfection; a flaw.


Plural of wart

Common Curiosities

Can moles turn into cancer?

Most moles are benign, but changes in a mole's appearance can sometimes indicate melanoma, a serious skin cancer.

Can warts lead to cancer?

Most warts do not lead to cancer. However, certain HPV strains associated with genital warts can increase the risk of cervical and other cancers.

Are all warts contagious?

Yes, warts are caused by HPV and can spread through direct contact with the wart or with surfaces touched by the wart.

How do I know if a mole needs to be checked?

Follow the ABCDE rule for moles: Asymmetry, Border irregularity, Color variation, Diameter larger than 6mm, and Evolution or change over time.

How can I prevent warts?

Preventing warts involves minimizing direct contact with warts and practicing good hygiene, especially in communal areas.

Can moles be removed for cosmetic reasons?

Yes, moles can be removed surgically for cosmetic reasons or if they cause discomfort.

Do warts always hurt?

Not all warts cause pain, but some, like plantar warts on the soles of the feet, can be uncomfortable.

Are there different types of moles?

Yes, there are several types of moles, including congenital, acquired, and atypical (dysplastic) nevi, each with distinct characteristics.

Is sun exposure related to moles?

Sun exposure can influence the development and appearance of moles, and it's recommended to protect the skin from excessive sun to reduce melanoma risk.

Should I be worried about a new mole?

New moles are generally not a concern, especially under the age of 40. However, monitoring for any changes in size, shape, or color is recommended.

Can warts spread to other parts of my body?

Yes, warts can spread to other parts of your body through touching or scratching.

What is the best treatment for warts?

Treatment options vary, including salicylic acid, cryotherapy, and other medical treatments, depending on the wart's type and location.

How long do warts last?

Warts can last from a few months to several years, and they may disappear on their own or require treatment.

Can children get moles and warts?

Yes, both moles and warts can appear in children. Monitoring moles for changes is important, and warts are often treated due to their contagious nature.

Is it safe to treat warts at home?

Many warts can be treated with over-the-counter remedies, but it's important to follow instructions carefully and consult a healthcare provider for persistent or problematic warts.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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