Witches and Warts
From around 1300 to 1650, men and women were accused, tried, and punished for the crime of witchcraft. The accused were put on trial and expected to prove their innocence. Throughout the centuries, the evidence required to prove innocence became more and more difficult to obtain, while the evidence required to prove guilt became as easy as a body search.
Witch trials would take the very physical appearance of the accused into account. Not only was the outward appearance of an accused witch judged, but so was the entirety of their body. Accused witches would be stripped and searched for any sign of abnormality on their skin, which became known as witches’ marks, witches’ teats, devil marks, and suck spots. If one of these marks was found on the accused, the proof of demonic influence was evident, and they were convicted of the crime of witchcraft.
Witches’ teats could have been anything from skin tags, moles, warts, an actual third nipple, or even something that would be diagnosed today as a melanoma. Any unexpected or unexplained piece of skin on the body could have been passed off as a witches’ teat.
Later, in the seventeenth century and beyond, witches were believed to be physically ugly because of their diabolic nature. This idea is certainly a reflection of the medieval and Renaissance beliefs about the outer physical appearance of a person’s body matching their inner goodness. The modern notion of witches being ugly hags certainly comes from this concept, and it could be argued that the notion of witches always being portrayed as having warts could be a correlation to the devil mark.
Thank goodness for education and advances in medical research because we now know that witches’ teats are very common and there is nothing demonic about their appearance. Let us delve into the cause and treatment of such ‘teats’
What are warts, skin tags and moles and how can we treat them?
Warts are common viral skin infections, affecting around 7–12% of the population at any one time, and are more common in children. They are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV), of which there are over 150 genotypically different types; the most common are HPVs 1, 2, 4, 27 and 57, and HPVs 3 and 10 for plane (flat) warts.
HPV infects the keratinocytes, the most dominant cell type in the epidermis, which results in development of epidermal thickening and hyperkeratinisation. HPV infection is acquired from direct contact, which may be person-to-person or from the environment (e.g. showers and swimming pools; skin penetration increases if the skin is broken or wet) .
Studies suggest that the bovine papilloma virus (which is related) can retain infectivity for months and possibly years, and the same may be true for HPV .
No treatment is required in most cases, especially if the warts cause no functional impairment. Most warts will resolve spontaneously within two years, although some cases can take five to ten years to resolve. Treatment should be considered when the wart is uncomfortable, function is impaired or if the warts affect appearance (e.g. warts on the face).
Contact us and we can firstly confirm that it is a wart and then easily remove it for you using our Cryopen treatment
Acrochordons, also called skin tags, are very common benign skin growths. It is estimated that almost half of adults have at least one of these harmless growths. They occur more commonly in obese or diabetic individuals and in people with a family history of skin tags. Acrochordons affect men and women with equal frequency.
Acrochordons can appear as early as the second decade. Typically after age seventy people do not develop new acrochordons. They tend to grow in areas where there are skin folds, such as the underarms, neck, eyelids, and groin.
They are skin coloured or brown ovoid growths attached to a fleshy stalk. Usually they are small, between 2-5 mm, but can grow to be several centimeters.Acrochordons are not painful but can be bothersome. People frequently complain skin tags get caught on clothing or jewellery.
The cause of acrochordons is unknown, however there are several theories. Irritation or friction to the skin, as occurs with skin rubbing on skin in body folds, may play a role in their formation. Acrochordons are found more commonly in people who are overweight or have diabetes. This may be due to body habitus (more skin folds), but some people think insulin resistance may somehow contribute to the development of these harmless tumors. A study of 49 patients with acrochordons showed that the human papilloma virus (HPV) was present in a high percentage of growths, suggesting the virus plays a role in development. It is also possible that acrochordons are genetic or simply due to normal aging and loss of elastic tissue. There is a genetic disorder called Birt-Hogg-Dube Syndrome that is characterized by numerous skin tags along with other skin and systemic findings. www.aocd.org
Acrochordons are harmless and no not require removal however, if you are uncomfortable with a skin tag on your body, or perhaps it’s catching on clothing or jewellery, please contact us and we can firstly confirm that it is a skin tag and then easily remove it for you using our Cryopen treatment
Moles are small lesions in the skin. They are a collection of melanocytes. Melanocytes are melanin-producing cells. Melanin is a pigment which gives skin its color.
Moles are usually brownish, but some may be much darker, while others are skin-colored. They can be rough, flat, raised, and have hair growing out of them. They are generally round or oval, and have a smooth edge.
Moles can change in appearance and amount. Sometimes they eventually fade away or drop off.
Some moles respond to changes in hormone levels, as may occur during pregnancy, adolescence, and older age. During teen years they usually grow in number, they also get darker during pregnancy and gradually fade away as people age.
The majority of moles appear during the first 20-30 years of a person’s life, however, some may be present when the baby is born. Congenital melanocytic nevi are present at birth, any moles appearing after birth are melanocytic nevi. Dark skinned people generally have fewer moles than those with fair skin.
Fast facts on moles:
- Most moles are inherited.
- People brought up in sunny places tend to have more moles than others with the same type of skin who were raised in areas with comparatively little sun exposure.
- Sun spots, which may be caused by severe sunburn, are not moles.
- The vast majority of moles are harmless. In rare cases they can develop into an aggressive type of skin cancer called malignant melanoma.
- If you have moles, you should check them regularly for changes in texture and appearance.
We do not treat moles and will advise you to seek advice from your doctor.