Warts are an infectious skin growth caused the human papillomavirus virus (HPV).
Of the more than 100 different types of HPV, only a few causes warts on your hands. Warts on other areas of your body are caused by different strains of the virus. Warts can grow on any part of your body, including inside your mouth.
The most common types of warts are:
Warts are sometimes confused with molluscum, another common skin condition that involves the appearance of 10-20 wart-like bumps. These pink or flesh-colored bumps are caused by the poxvirus. Like warts, molluscum is spread through physical contact.
Anyone can get warts, but some people are naturally more resistant to HPV and therefore don’t get them as easily as others.
You’re more likely to contract warts if you have a cut or a scrape, or if you come in contact with a wart that has been traumatized by picking, scratching, or rubbing.
Skin-to-skin contact isn’t the only way you can get warts. You can also get them from touching a wet towel that another person’s wart has touched, or from walking barefoot on in a locker room or at on the deck of a public pool.
Young children and teenagers are more prone to getting warts, as are people who habitually bite their nails.
Although most warts are harmless and many go away on their own — particularly warts on children — it’s important to see Dr. Gonzales if you have a wart that causes you pain or has been around for a long time. You should also head to the dermatologist office if you have several warts.
Standard treatments for warts include:
This common approach uses liquid nitrogen to freeze the wart off the surface of your skin. The treatment isn’t too uncomfortable, and is generally well tolerated by adults as well as older children.
This treatment method involves painting your wart with cantharidin, a solution that causes a blister to form beneath the lesion. About a week later, the dead wart can simply be clipped off.
Electrosurgery involves burning your wart off, while curettage involves scraping it off. These two approaches are often combined. Excision, or cutting the wart out, is another common treatment method.