Types of Warts

Types of Warts Sep 23, 2019 / by Complete Family Dermatology Team

Warts are common, non-cancerous growths on the skin that show up after a virus infects the top layer of the skin. A virus called the human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common cause of warts. Warts are highly contagious, and they can spread quickly by simple contact with the wart or anything that has touched it, including a towel or any item of clothing. It is also easy to spread warts from one part of the body to another. Anyone can get warts, although some people are more prone to catching them than others.

Types of Warts

Warts can appear in several parts of the body, and each of the five types look different, therefore they are easily diagnosed by medical professionals. The types are:

  • Common warts: They are usually found on fingers and toes. They feel rough and are grainy, round at the top, and gray.
  • Plantar warts: They are found on the feet, especially on the soles. Plantar warts are painful as they can grow inward creating pressure on the feet.
  • Flat warts: They are found on the face, arms, and thighs. They are small and can be yellow, brown, or pink. They are flat on the top, thus their name.
  • Filiform warts: They are found on the face, usually around the mouth and nose. They are small and flesh-colored.
  • Periungual warts: They are found around the fingernails and toenails. They stop the nail growth and therefore can be painful.

Treatment

Warts frequently go away on their own without any type of treatment. This is especially true in young children. In adults, however, warts may not heal and disappear as easily. Although most types are harmless, there are some indications when a person should seek out the help of a dermatologist. For example, if the warts are painful, or you see any changes in size, color, or any signs of bleeding and infection, you should seek help. Diabetics and people with an immune deficiency should also keep an eye on their warts.

If a visit to a dermatologist is necessary, the medical professional can use several treatments. The most common treatment is freezing the wart. This is quite painless and can be performed on children and adults alike. The only side effect might be a dark spot left behind. Another method used is coating the wart in cantharidin, which ‘kills’ the wart and the dermatologist can easily remove it. Other ways of removing warts may include cutting it out, undergoing laser treatment (for more persistent warts), and a chemical peel on the infected area.

Prevention

Although warts cannot be prevented entirely, there are a few different things you can do to stop them from spreading. Warts are best avoided by good hygiene and regularly washing hands and feet. Skin that is healthy and free of cuts and scrapes is less likely to have warts. If you already have warts, avoid scraping them as that can make them spread in your body.

Wearing clean shoes and socks and using clean, fresh towels can also help to prevent warts from spreading from person to person. In families, the spread of warts can be prevented by throwing out nail clippers or nail boards after an infected person has used them.

If you are using public showers or pool areas, you should always wear flip-flops or other appropriate footwear that will prevent you from coming into contact with a contaminated area. As a final precaution, avoid touching someone’s warts.

Warts cannot be cured. Therefore, they can reappear at any time, and they often do. You should have your dermatologist treat new warts as soon as you spot them.

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