Warts are a common skin condition caused by various strains of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Warts can be on hands, feet, face, limbs, or even the genital areas. Except for ones on pressure bearing areas, they are usually painless, and may disappear on their own with time. However, most people want their warts gone as soon as possible. Here is some information on the risk, causes, and types of warts.
As mentioned above, warts are caused by various strains of HPV. This virus is highly contagious, and is spread by contact. Handshakes and other forms of physical contact–as well as sharing personal items such as razors and towels–can spread warts quite easily. You can even spread warts from one part of your body to another by touching your wart. All this being said, warts do not automatically spread every time there is contact.
A few more noteworthy facts about how warts develop: HPV tends to spread through breaks in the skin–which is why nail biting is frequently cited as a cause of warts. (Just as alarmingly, the habit can also help transfer warts from the hands to the face!) It is also worth pointing out that children and young adults are far more likely to develop warts than older people. Last but not least, people with weakened immune systems (for example, those living with HIV) are also at an increased risk of developing warts.
There are many distinct strains of HPV, but in this article we will focus on three of the most frequently occurring types of warts: common warts, plantar warts, and flat warts.
● Common warts typically look and feel like rough bumps, occasional with small black dots that look like seeds. They most frequently occur on the fingers and hands, (often in close proximity to a cut or a hangnail) and can potentially be spread to the rest of the body.
● Plantar warts occur on the soles of the feet. These are more bothersome than common warts because they can cause discomfort when walking–and they sometimes grow in clusters, compounding the effects.
● Flat Warts are small, smooth, and painless, and can grow anywhere on the body. They are also prone to growing in clusters.
Though most warts eventually disappear with time, you may wish to purchase an over-the-counter wart treatment. Should these fail to have an effect, a dermatologist may be able to help. For information on the most common wart treatments–from widely available products to in-office procedures–schedule an appointment with one of our providers today!