What are Warts?

PLEASE NOTE: Advanced Dermatology does not treat warts at this current time. This article is for education and information purposes only. 

Warts are growths on the skin that are not cancerous. They appear on the skin when the top layer of skin is infected by a virus. Usually, warts develop when the skin is damaged and the virus is able to enter into the skin. Warts are caused by the HP virus (human papillomavirus), which is contagious. People with weak immune systems tend to get warts more than a healthy individual. Warts can grow on any part of the body.

Type of Warts

There are many different kinds of warts. The common wart, also known as the vurruca vulgaris, grow on the backs of hands, around the nails and on the fingers. They often will have black dots that look similar to seeds, and will feel rough to the touch. They are common where the skin is broken, such as a hangnail. The virus that causes these warts can be spread from the hands to any other part of the body, such as the face, just by touching it.

Flat warts occur anywhere on the body. They are smaller and smoother than any other type of wart. They tend to grow in numbers. It is not uncommon for an individual to have 20 or more at one time.  Males tend to get these in their beard area, while females often get them on their legs. Children tend to have flat warts on their face.

Foot warts are also referred to as plantar warts. These warts grow on the soles of the feet, and grow in a cluster. They too may have black dots, and often hurt. They can be flat or grow inward, due to walking on the feet.

Filiform warts often grow very quickly on the body. They have  a long thread in them that sticks out or fingers that stick out. They will often grow on the face around the eyes, nose and mouth.

Warts Treatment

A dermatologist will be able to tell if you have warts just by examining the skin. However, in some individuals, a skin biopsy could be needed to double check. Warts will often be left untreated, as they will more often then not go away on their own. Warts in children often disappear much faster than those on adults. Should an adult wish to have treatment, there are many options. These include the following:

  • Excision- The dermatologist will cut the wart out of the skin.
  • Cryotherapy- The wart will be frozen off the skin. This is a very common technique to use. It is not as painful as other methods, but can cause dark spots on those with darker skin tones. Repeat treatments may be needed.
  • Cantharidin- The wart is treated with Cantharidin, which will cause it to blister.  After a week or so, you will return to the dermatologist where the wart will be snipped off.
  • Electrosurgery and curettage- Electrosurgery or burning of the wart is used for foot warts, common warts and filiform warts. Curettage or scraping of the wart is often used in conjunction with electrosurgery.
  • Laser treatments- For hard to remove warts, a dermatologist can use lasers to remove the wart. This is often used after another procedure has been tried.

Should you have a wart, never pick at it. Never touch someone else’s wart and always wear sandals in public locker rooms and showers.  Keep the feet dry if you have foot warts as moisture will allow the warts to spread.

PLEASE NOTE: Advanced Dermatology does not treat warts at this current time. This article is for education and information purposes only. 

7 replies
  1. immune
    immune says:

    Immunotherapy can also be used to treat warts. This method is extremely effective if you have a weak immune system. A mild allergic reaction can occur, which could make the warts go away. I have used this method and it did work for me as I do have a suppressed immune system.

  2. Kelly Saint
    Kelly Saint says:

    I have heard that an at home remedy for warts is covering them with duct tape and changing it out every few days. I have never known this to work for anyone and just think that it would be rather painful to pull the tape off. Has anyone else had any luck with this method? Or did it just make the wart and skin around it aggravated?

  3. Gerber
    Gerber says:

    I have had warts before and the best thing that I did was have them froze off. I only needed two treatments and it was pretty much pain free. The warts were on my finger and they were rather unsightly to me. I had tried to just let them go away but that was not working and over the counter medications did nothing for me. My dermatologist was able to freeze them off in her office, and the whole process just went great. I would recommend that if you are able to do cryotherapy for your warts, you do because it is not very much trouble at all.

  4. Jojo
    Jojo says:

    I have heard that you can use chemical peels for warts. They say this treatment is for flat warts, which is what I have. I just wondered if anyone had any experience with this, as I would love to try this method. I guess that chemical peels will peel away the skin. I understand that it is a daily peeling. The dermatologist will prescribe an at home chemical peel. Has anyone had any luck with this method? Did you find it safe and effective?

  5. Hate it
    Hate it says:

    I have had a few warts in my time. I remember once having one on my hands. I was super embarrassed by it. I tried the over the counter methods, and none of them worked. After a period of time, it just went away. I have also had a few plantar warts. Mine grew inward and were painful just because I had done so much walking on them. I was able to have them removed by freezing them off, which was not painful. So far none of my warts have returned!

  6. Melinda G.
    Melinda G. says:

    Does anyone remember their mothers telling them that warts would form on the skin if they touched a toad? Is this really true or is it superstition? I never touched them because I feared that it would really happen to me. I have never had any warts on any parts of my body. I guess I have been extremely lucky that way as I would hate to have an ugly wart. I do feel sorry for those that do have the warts and can not find any relief in getting rid of them. If this was the case for me, I would definitely see a dermatologist to see what I could all do.

  7. Wart probz
    Wart probz says:

    I have had a few warts on my body before. While they are unsightly, they do not bother me if others can not see them. I have had a few on my fingers and they are ugly and I just want them covered up. I did over the counter meds for them and within a while they did go away. The other warts on the rest of my body I did not worry about because no one could see them and they were not painful.


Leave a Comment/Share your Story

Want to join the discussion?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *