About Warts

Warts are flesh-colored skin growths occasionally marked with clotted blood vessels resembling black dots. Warts can affect men, women and children of all ages. Athough warts may be annoying and unsightly, they are perfectly harmless and do not carry any risk of cancer.  Where warts tend to occur on the body is influenced by the type of warts developed, however most warts tend to appear on the fingers, hands and feet.


Warts are caused by the human papillomavirus, more commonly known as HPV.  Although HPV may be sexually transmitted, there are many different types of HPV and not all of them are transmitted this way.  In order to become infected with a type of HPV that causes warts, direct or indirect contact with the virus is necessary, however the risk of contracting warts from a person is very low.

After initial exposure to a wart-causing virus, it may take as many as two to six months for the initial onset of warts to occur.  It is important to note that warts can spread to other areas on your own body through open wounds and nail biting.


There are three types of warts that may be treated in a dermatology office, including:

  • Common warts – Small, rough warts that typically occur around the fingernails and on the backs of hands
  • Plantar warts – Warts that affect the bottom of the feet and may be very painful
  • Flat warts – Smaller, smoother warts that typically appear in greater numbers on the face and legs

The type of warts you experience may dictate the type of wart removal that is most appropriate for treating your condition.

Possible Treatments

Cryotherapy, or freezing warts with liquid nitrogen, is a popular wart removal method.  Conversely, electro surgery, or burning warts with a cautery tool, is also an effective and commonly utilized option for wart removal.  Warts may also be removed with minor surgery or laser therapy.

Topical over-the-counter treatments for warts containing salicylic acid are frequently used to treat warts but are not as quick and may not be as effective as other methods for wart removal.  Other topical medications, such as Aldara, Retin-A and in extreme cases, Bleomycin may be prescribed for treatment of more stubborn warts.




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