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All About Warts and Wart Treatment

August 2022


Learn What to Do and What to Expect if You Have a Wart

July is Wart Awareness Month, a perfect time to learn more about what warts are, what types of warts you can have, and wart treatment options. 

In this post, you’ll learn what to expect during an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist if you decide to see a professional for wart treatment.

What is a Wart?

A wart is a benign growth on the skin caused by a viral infection with the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Warts can appear anywhere on the body but are most commonly found on the hands and feet. 

While warts are contagious through direct or indirect contact and can cause some discomfort, such as pain or itchiness, they are generally not a significant concern. Many will go away on their own, and if they are a bit more stubborn, can be treated with medication or removed. 

How Do People Get Warts?

HPV is a virus that attacks skin cells when they are exposed through a cut. Once inside the skin, the virus causes the skin cells to grow rapidly, forming a wart.

Warts can be spread through skin-to-skin contact or contact with a towel or clothing that has been exposed to a wart. If you have a wart, you can also spread it to other parts of your body. For these reasons, personal hygiene and exercising caution in certain public settings are extremely important to prevent the spread of warts. 

Some warts, which you’ll learn about below, are commonly spread in locker rooms or gyms and among athletes – all activities where direct or indirect contact is more frequent and in moist, wet environments where the virus can thrive. 

Different Types of Warts and How to Identify Them

The following are warts that are most commonly seen in our practice, and each type manifests, behaves, and is treated differently. 

Common Warts

As the name suggests, these warts are the most common among individuals. They typically appear on the fingers and toes and can be rough to the touch or feature tiny, black dots where blood vessels have clotted around the wart.

Flat Warts

A flat wart is smooth and flat-topped and appears most often on the face, backs of the hands, arms, and legs. They are also most commonly found in children and young adults.

Plantar Warts

This type of wart grows on the bottoms and soles of the feet and is often painful. Plantar warts are commonly contracted by walking barefoot in moist, wet, communal environments such as a locker room or in a gym shower. For this reason, we recommend always wearing some type of footwear when in those settings to protect your feet. 

Filiform Warts

Filiform warts are unique in appearance and are characterized by long, narrow projections that grow out from the skin. They are often yellow, brown, pink, or skin-toned and most often manifest on the face, neck, lips, or eyelids. 

Periungual Warts

These warts are typically found in the grooves of nail beds, making them difficult to treat. They can also be located underneath the nail, in which case they are classified as a subungual wart. Subungual warts can be more difficult to treat because of their location under the nail. 

Wart Treatment Options

There are different treatments for warts depending on the type of wart you have, where it is located, and how long you’ve had the wart. Some warts, like Plantar Warts, become harder to treat the longer you have them because they root deeper down into the skin over time. 

While there are home remedies and over-the-counter topical treatments for smaller warts that don’t cause symptoms. If you have painful warts or notice several warts on your skin, it’s best to seek treatment from a board-certified dermatologist.  

Your dermatologist will be able to recommend the best treatment for your specific wart. Some common treatments can include cryotherapy or liquid nitrogen to freeze off the wart, or remove it using lasers or surgical removal. 

At Optima Dermatology & Medical Aesthetics, our expert, board-certified dermatologists create a welcoming environment to answer your questions and address your concerns.

Schedule an appointment today to discuss wart treatment plans.