A wart is a skin growth caused by some types of the virus called the human papillomavirus (HPV). There are more than 100 known types of HPV. HPV infects the top layer of skin, usually entering the body in an area of broken skin. The virus causes the top layer of skin to grow rapidly, forming a wart. Most warts go away on their own within months or years.
There are five kinds of warts. They look different and form on different parts of the body.
These grow most often on the hands, but they may be anywhere on the body. They are rough, shaped like a dome, and gray-brown in color.
These grow on the soles of the feet. They look like hard, thick patches of skin with dark specks. Plantar warts may cause pain when you walk, and you may feel like you are stepping on a pebble.
These usually grow on the face, arms, or legs. They are small (usually smaller than the eraser on the end of a pencil), have flat tops, and can be pink, light brown, or light yellow.
These 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.
These grow under and around the toenails and fingernails. They look like rough bumps with an uneven surface and border. They can affect nail growth.
Different warts respond to different treatments, and some go away on their own.
Salicylic acid products (in the form of drops, gels, pads and bandages) can help self-treatment of many warts by dissolving the keratin protein that makes up the wart and the dead skin above it. Others can be removed via liquid nitrogen freezing or electrical stimulation.
Surgery may be recommended for painful or large warts that do not respond to these treatments.
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