Warts are caused by the HPV virus; the most commonly sexually transmitted viral infection, and commonly grow on fingers, hands, toes or feet. Six million people become newly infected each year, and most do not know they have it. Depending on the severity of the virus, warts can appear as small, rough, skin colored mounds or as smooth dark marks along the skin with varied frequency and quantity.

Anyone can get warts regardless if they are sexually active or not. They can spread by skin to skin contact, or even if an object to wart contraction, for example if a person comes in contact with a towel that a person’s wart touched. Children are more susceptible to contracting warts because they enter the system easily through cuts and scrapes, and their underdeveloped immune system.

Dermatologists can diagnose a wart by looking at it, although in rare cases a biopsy can be performed in order to confirm in a lab. Many people seek a dermatologist’s help to remove warts because of embarrassment, irritation, and prevent spreading.

There are many at-home, over-the-counter treatments that can be found in local pharmacies. However, your dermatologist can use a mildly painful application of liquid nitrogen to freeze the wart that causes a blister to develop underneath the wart, which falls off within the week. Minor surgery involving the cutting away of or electrical burning of the wart may be necessary if the wart is unresponsive to other treatments.

Types of warts include:

  • Dome-shaped warts- fingers, hands, toes and feet
  • Filiform warts- face
  • Flat/plane warts- face and legs
  • Genital warts- male and female external genitalia
  • Periungal warts- under or around nail
  • Plantar warts- bottom of the foot


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