Warts are generally harmless skin growths caused by a viral infection with Human Papillomavirus (HPV) in the top layer of the skin. Warts are spread by direct contact from person to person, sometimes indirectly. Scratching, or picking a wart can also result in the transfer of viral particles to another area of the skin.
There different types of warts that look different. Here are some types that are usually seen. However, there are mimickers like molluscum contagiosum, certain types of eczema and even skin cancer. So it is best to consult a doctor when you suspect you are having a wart.
Types of Warts
- Common Warts – These warts usually grow on the fingers and toes, backs of the hands, knees and around the nails. They are most common where the skin has been broken. They generally look like a rough “warty” bump.
- Plane Warts – These warts are smaller and smoother and tend to grow in large numbers, ranging from 20-100 at any one time. They may be found on face, neck, torso or sometimes on the limbs. Shaving may lead to the spread of these warts.
- Plantar Warts – These are warts that grow on the soles (plantar area) of the feet and can often be flattened and may have tiny black dots in the middle. They may be pushed into the skin due to the pressure of walking. This can be painful, and feel like an uncomfortable stone in your shoe.
- Genital Warts – These warts grow around genital areas, could be small and rough looking, and they are sexually transmitted.
How to Treat Warts?
Sometimes warts do not need to be treated. In children, 30-50% of common warts disappear within six months without any treatment. However, warts that are bothersome, painful or rapidly multiplying should be treated.
- Topical solution containing salicylic acid and lactic acid
- Immunotherapy with topical imiquimod 5% solution
- Cryotherapy (freezing) with liquid nitrogen
- Laser therapy
- Cauterization and curretage
- Injections of anti-cancerous drug, bleomycin, into the wart
Warts can be very stubborn to remove so you may need to try different treatment methods.