Warts are benign skin growths that occur when the human papillomavirus (HPV) infects the upper layers of the skin. A person contracts HPV through skin-to-skin contact, or with an object that recently touched a wart. While warts most commonly occur on the hands and feet, they can appear anywhere on the body including the face and genitals. Children are more likely to have warts because their immune systems have not learned to recognize and suppress HPV. While warts are harmless, they can be highly contagious.
The main cause of warts is a skin infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV). The virus causes excessive growth of keratin, which is a type of protein present in skin, hair, and nails.
Warts are highly contagious and spread easily. Many people get warts after skin-to-skin contact with someone who has warts. People also develop warts after contact with something that touched another person’s wart, such as a towel or locker room floor. People do not get warts from touching frogs or toads.
Different types of warts affect various parts of the body. Each type has a unique appearance. Some warts are more contagious than others.
Also known as facial warts, filiform warts look like a long, narrow, flesh-colored stalk, which appears by itself or in groups around a person’s face, eyelids, lips, or neck. Filiform warts may itch or bleed but are easily treated with over-the-counter medications.
can appear on any part of the body, but most commonly appear on the back of fingers, knees, and toes, usually where the skin has been broken from a scratch or bug bite. These dome-shaped, skin-colored lesions can range in size from a pinhead to 10mm and may appear singly or in groups.
Most often appear around the pubic/genital area, but can develop inside the vagina, in the anus, or in the mouth; these highly contagious genital warts start small but can grow quite large and require treatment by a physician.
Flesh-colored or white warts that have a slightly raised, flat appearance, which usually appears on the face and forehead. These warts are more common among children and teens than in adults.
There are many types of wart removal techniques. The specific types of wart removal depend on their severity, type, and location on the body. Some warts may be removed with over-the-counter medications while others require dermatologist wart removal.
Laser wart removal uses the energy of light to heat the wart until the tissue dies, and the wart falls off.
Cryotherapy uses liquid nitrogen or nitrous oxide to freeze the wart tissue, which then falls off.
Doctors perform wart removal surgery by cutting off the wart.
Cantharidin is a compound that causes the wart to blister in a way that lifts the wart from the skin; the wart comes off when the blister dries.
For more information on warts and wart removal, consult with your skin doctor at the Center for Dermatology. Dermatologist wart removal is fast, easy, and comfortable.