A wart is a small, skin growth often resembling a cauliflower or blister. It typically occurs on the hands or feet, but can develop in other locations. Warts are caused by a viral infection, specifically one of the many types of human papillomavirus (HPV). The virus causes the top layer of skin to grow rapidly forming the wart or a cluster of warts. There are many varieties of warts; most are considered harmless. They typically disappear after a few months but can last for years and, since they are caused by a virus in the body, can recur.
- Common warts grow anywhere on the body but the hands and feet are most common. They are rough, shaped like an arch, and may be gray-brown in color.
- Plantar warts grow on the feet. They are hard, thick patches of skin with dark specks. They may be painful when you walk or you may feel like you are stepping on a stone.
- Flat warts usually grow on the face, arms, or legs. They are small, have flat tops, and can be pink, light brown, or light yellow.
- Filiform warts usually grow around the mouth, nose, or beard area. They are the same color as your skin and have growths that look like threads sticking out of them.
- Periungual warts grow under and around the toenails and fingernails. They look like rough bumps with an uneven border and can affect nail growth.
- Condyloma Accuminatum or Genital warts are sexually transmitted, contagious and easily spread by direct contact. These skin growths can occur in any area of the genital region including the groin, vagina, cervix, anal area and within the rectum. They can be of varying sizes and shapes, rough or smooth, skin colored or white. Some types are associated with an increase of cervical cancer in women and peri-anal warts may carry an increased risk of squamous cell carcinoma in men. It is imperative to follow up with your gynecologist or proctologist when these types of warts are detected.
Warts are contagious and easily spread by direct contact. They can take months to grow beneath the skin before you notice them. Some people are more likely to get warts than others.
Chelsea Skin & Laser is your best source to diagnose and treat warts. We may prescribe a medical grade topical cream; inject the wart with a solution called Bleomycin; use cryotherapy effectively freezing the wart or remove it surgically or with electrocautery. Regardless of the treatment used, repeat treatments are usually required.