What are warts?
Warts are noncancerous skin growths caused by the papillomavirus. Warts are more common in children than adults, although they can develop at any age. Warts can spread to other parts of the body and to other people. There are many different types of warts, due to many different papillomavirus types (more than 100). Warts usually aren't painful, except when located on the feet. Most warts go away, without treatment, over an extended period of time.
Common types of warts
The following are the more common types of warts:
Growths around nails and the back of hands; usually have a rough surface; grayish-yellow or brown in color
Hand and foot warts
Located on the soles of feet (plantar warts) or the palms of the hand (palmar warts) with black dots (clotted blood vessels that once fed them); clusters of plantar warts are called mosaic; can be painful
Small, smooth growths that grow in groups up to 100 at a time; most often appear on children's faces
Grow on the genitals and are occasionally sexually transmitted; are soft and don't have a rough surface like other common warts
Small, long, narrow growths that usually appear on eyelids, face, or neck
What is the treatment for warts?
Specific treatment for warts will be discussed with you by your healthcare provider based on:
Your age, overall health, and medical history
Extent of the growths
Your tolerance for specific medicines, procedures, or therapies
Expectations for the course of the growths
Your opinion or preference
Warts often disappear without treatment. Treatment of warts depends on several factors, including:
Treatment may include:
Application of salicylic and lactic acid (to soften the infected area)
Freezing with liquid nitrogen
Electrodesiccation (to destroy the wart with an electrical current)
Prescription creams, such as imiquimod