Warts are small, rough growths on your skin caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). They’re often flesh-colored, but they can be white, pink, or tan and may have tiny dark spots in the center, which are clotted blood vessels.
Common warts: These warts appear on the fingers, hands, and face.
Plantar warts: They’re the same as common warts but they appear on the soles of feet. They often grow in clusters and can be quite painful if the wart presses on a nerve.
Flat warts: Smaller and smoother than other warts, but 20-100 occur at one time. While they can be anywhere on the body, they usually appear on the face in children, on women’s legs, and in the beard area of men.
Filiform warts: Similar to common warts but thin threads grow out of the wart. They tend to develop on the face.
Warts are easy to pass from one person to the next. This can happen through direct contact with the person. For example, you might shake hands with someone who has a wart on their finger. The virus also travels on objects, so you may be at risk if you share a towel or a phone with an infected person. Plantar warts are commonly spread at swimming pools and community showers, or if you walk around in bare feet in the dirt, where the virus can live.
Warts are common in children and teens because they’re more likely to have direct contact. But remember that a wart can’t develop unless the virus can get into your skin through a cut or scrape. After the virus invades, it infects the top layer of skin and grows to become a wart.
Considering the fact that warts are so contagious, it’s safer to make an appointment to have them removed by Dr. Marshall rather than waiting for them to disappear or using less effective over-the-counter treatments. The doctor often removes warts using cryosurgery, which uses liquid nitrogen to freeze the wart. He may also use electrosurgery, cut or scrape it off, or inject it with medicine that stimulates the immune system. If your wart resists treatment, Dr. Marshall may consider using a chemical peel.