What are warts? Warts are non-cancerous lesions that grow on the top layer of the skin. They usually feel rough and are skin-colored, but may be of a different morphology as well.

They are several types of warts characterized by the location they occur in, how they look, and the symptoms they produce:

  • Common warts (verruca vulgaris)- found most commonly on the fingers and back of hands. May appear with black dots and are often rough to the touch.
  • Plantar warts (verruca pedis)- found on the sole of the foot, often appearing in clusters that are flat or grow inwards. These warts may hurt while walking or when any pressure is applied.
  • Flat warts (verruca plana)- small, smooth warts usually found in areas where hair is shaved, such as beard area for men and legs for women. They can occur anyway, and in children, they usually occur on the face. Flat warts have a tendency to multiply in large numbers.
  • Filiform warts (verruca filiformis)- occur most commonly on the face, around the mouth, eyes, and nose. Characterized by the appearance of long threads that are fast growing.
  • Genital warts (condyloma acuminata)- occur in clusters or separately in anal or genital areas. The color is variable and may bleed spontaneously. Some warts may cause redness, itching, or discomfort.

What causes warts?

Warts are caused by infections by human papillomavirus (HPV). Warts are extremely infectious and enter the skin through injuries to the skin.

 How are warts treated?

While there is no cure for HPV, it is cleared spontaneously by most immunocompetent individuals. Warts may be treated by a variety of modalities, based on the type of wart, size, and location. Commonly used methods include:

  • Topical salicylic acid
  • Cantharidin
  • Cryotherapy
  • Electrosurgery and curettage
  • Excision
  • Laser
  • Bleomycin
  • Intralesional immunotherapy

Source: Warts: Overview. (n.d.). American Academy of Dermatology Association. Retrieved February 27, 2022, from https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/a-z/warts-overview