A wart is a skin growth caused by one of over 100 types of human papillomaviruses (HPV). HPV infects the top layer of the skin. The virus then causes the top layer of skin to grow rapidly, forming a wart. Within months, most wars go away on their own.
Warts are considered to be contagious and although they often only affect one part of the body, they can spread to other areas by picking them.
There are different types of warts which include – common warts, plantar warts, periungual warts, flat warts and filiform warts.
The different types of warts look different and are found on different parts of the body.
Common warts are dome-shaped and found on the backs of fingers, toes and knees. Plantar warts are found on the sole of the foot and grow into the skin, not out of it. Periungual warts grow around or under the nails and can be quite painful. Flat warts arise on the face, thighs or arms, often in large numbers. Filiform warts have a single long stalk and are the same colour as your skin, often growing around your mouth and nose.
Most warts have a rough surface and a number of black pinpoint spots that represent small clotted capillaries.
There are many methods of treatment for warts. These include –
- Freezing – Spray concentrated cold air onto your warts that kill the skin and allow you to scrape away the surface of the wart.
- Treatments and patches containing salicylic acid – These products have to be used every day, often for a few weeks.
- Duct tape – Cover the wart with a small piece of duct tape for several days, then soak the wart, and, finally rub the wart to remove the dead skin.
- Liquid Nitrogen – Warts are frozen with liquid nitrogen that causes a blister under the wart, lifting it away from the skin.
- Surgery – usually considered when warts do not respond to other treatments.
Warts may recur after treatment.