What are warts?
Warts are small skin growths and are usually painless and harmless. Warts are benign (non-cancerous) and caused by a virus called human papillomavirus (HPV) and so they are highly contagious. Warts can be rough to the touch or may also be flat and smooth.
Most are the same color as your skin, but sometimes they are dark brown or gray and can have black, seed-like dots.
Signs and symptoms of warts
Warts do not cause any other symptoms aside from the growths themselves. If warts appear in places like the hands, they can be painful and bleed if bumped. Warts begin to develop months before you ever see them on the surface of your skin.
Types of warts
These are rough to the touch and gray or brown. They are most often on your fingers, elbows, knees, or face.
Plantar and palmar warts
These are small and smooth, and most often appear on your face.
Usually on your eyelids, lips, face, or neck, these warts are long and narrow.
These warts grow around the edges of your fingernails as thick skin. They can crack, bleed, and be painful.
When HPV is spread through sexual contact you can develop warts on your genitals.
What causes warts?
HPV is a virus that occurs naturally and has more than 40 variations. Anyone can have HPV and most adults will contract some version of the virus during their life.
Warts spread very easily through direct contact with HPV. Your warts may spread by touching another part of your body. You can also contract the virus from sharing personal items like towels and razors.
How are warts diagnosed?
Your doctor will complete a physical exam to diagnose warts based on their appearance. They will usually diagnose warts based on their appearance but may also use a small blade to scrape away the top layers of the wart to assess its texture. Many warts have black dots beneath the top layers. These are tiny, clotted blood vessels.
For persistent warts, you may need to see a dermatologist for specialized treatment. In some cases, your dermatologist takes a sample of the wart and completes a biopsy.
Treatments for warts
There are many treatments for warts, and some can be done at home. Always talk to your doctor about your condition before beginning treatment. Your doctor may suggest leaving warts alone until they go away on their own.
Some warts can be hard to get rid of because the thick layers of skin make it hard for the medicine to reach the virus that causes them. If you try an over-the-counter treatment and warts grow back, talk to your doctor about other options.
Common treatments for warts include:
- Topical treatments – These may be purchased at your local store or prescribed in a higher strength by your doctor. Topical treatments contain acid that removes the dead skin cells on the wart, causing it to go away.
- Cryosurgery – Your doctor uses a special chemical like liquid nitrogen to freeze the wart. This treatment is usually repeated several times.
- Laser treatment – This is used for stubborn warts that won’t go away with other treatments. Your doctor will cut the wart away using a laser tool that goes deeper in the skin to remove more of the wart than topical treatments can.
- Medication – Genital warts require a special medication used to treat sexually transmitted diseases.
After getting rid of a wart, you will probably want to make sure it doesn’t come back. Since HPV is a virus, you can never get rid of it in your body. You can prevent future wart growth using preventative measures:
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
American Academy of Dermatology Association: "How to heal warts more quickly and prevent new ones."
Dignity Health: "How do you get warts? A quick guide to causes, symptoms, and treatments."
Hopkins Medicine: "Warts in children."
Kids Health: "Warts."
University of Michigan Health: "Warts and plantar warts."
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: "HPV Human Papillomavirus."
Top What Are Warts Caused By Related Articles
Are Warts Caused by Being Dirty?Warts are a common skin problem that can happen in both kids and adults. Warts are not caused by being dirty, but by viruses in the HPV family.
Are Warts Contagious?Human papillomaviruses cause warts, which are small growths with a rough texture. Warts may cause symptoms and signs such as pain, itching, bleeding, and discomfort depending upon their location. Salicylic acide may effectively treat some warts.
Can Genital Warts Be Mistaken for Herpes?What is the Difference between genital warts and herpes, and, can genital warts be mistaken for herpes?
Can Toothpaste Get Rid of Warts?Though toothpaste is one of the popular home remedies for getting rid of warts, it is advised to not use toothpaste on your warts because it can do more harm than good by irritating your skin. Some people have reported warts getting smaller by applying toothpaste on them.
Genital Warts PicturesA wart in the moist skin of the genitals or around the anus. See a picture of Genital Warts (HPV) and learn more about the health topic.
Genital Warts in Men (HPV)The HPV virus (genital warts) in men can cause health problems. Genital warts are confined primarily to the moist skin of the genitals or around the anus. Genital warts are caused by the human papillomaviruses (HPVs), which are transmitted through sexual contact.
Genital Warts (HPV) Infection in Women
Genital warts is a sexually transmitted infection (STI, STD) caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). It is the most common STD in the US. The warts can appear anywhere on the skin where sexual contact has occurred.
The warts look like raised, flesh-colored lumps or bumps that have a cauliflower-like appearance. Signs and symptoms of genital warts in women include vaginal, vulva, or groin pain, itching, and burning where the wart(s) is.
Treatment can remove warts or lesions, but it does not prevent spread of the virus, and the warts usually grow back. Removing genital warts does not prevent the infection from spreading elsewhere on the body.
There is no cure for genital warts, and there is no vaccine to prevent them; however, there is a vaccine to prevent infection from four common types of HPV. Gardasil vaccine available for female adolescents and teens to prevent HPV infection and cervical cancer.
How Do You Get Rid of Warts?Learn what medical treatments can help you get rid of warts.
How Long Do Genital Warts Last?Genital wart is an infectious skin condition caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). The medical term for genital warts is ‘condyloma acuminata,’ and it is a sexually transmitted disease (STD).
How to Get Rid of Common Warts Fast
Common, plantar, and genital warts are growths on the outer layer of the skin (epidermis) caused by the humanpapilloma virus (HPV). Home remedies touted to get rid of common warts fast include garlic, vitamin C paste, and duct tape; however, none of these methods have been proven to work.
Over-the-counter drugs (OTC) used to get rid of warts include cryotherapy (freezing the wart). Doctors that treat warts are skin specialist called Dermatologists.
Warts (Common Warts)Common warts are skin growths causes by the human papillomavirus. There are many types of warts, including plantar warts, common hand warts, warts under the nails, mosaic wars, and flat warts. Over-the-counter treatments typically involve the use of salicylic acid products.
Types of WartsPlantar warts, genital warts, common warts, flat warts, and filiform warts are caused by infection with members of the human papillomavirus (HPV) family. The main symptom of a wart is a fleshy growth. Most warts resolve within a few months to 2 years. A weak immune system may be a risk factor for warts in the genital region and elsewhere.
What Are the Symptoms & Signs of Genital Warts?Of all warts, 30% will subside within the first four months of infection. A genital wart is a type of sexually transmitted disease appearing in various sizes and shapes. Some people get a few warts, whereas some get many.
What Is the Fastest Way To Get Rid of Genital Warts?Genital warts or HPV (human papillomavirus) are very common. There is no cure but there are fast treatments to help get rid of them. Learn what they are.
What Is the Best Over-the-Counter Wart Remover?Warts or verruca vulgaris are one of the most common dermatological complaints. The best over-the-counter wart removers contain salicylic acid or liquid butane.