What Are Warts? PDF  | Print |  E-mail

What are warts? Warts are growths that are visible on the skin's surface that manifest as a result of the human papillomavirus or (HPV). They are typically thought to be contagious however, it is possible for people in close groups for example in a family setting to have only one affected family member. They do not normally spread to other areas once they are localized in one section, for example the hands.

Some of the more common types include:
Warts that are shaped like a dome that are found on the fingers, toes and knees.

Plantar warts that should not be confused with planter's warts are located on the underside of the foot.

Flat warts are typically found on the face, legs and different areas of the body in great amounts.

Periungual warts are found within close proximity of the nails and often grow beneath the nail.

Filiform warts are found on the face. Each wart will protrude to the point where it looks like a stalk.

What Does BMW Stand For?

Warts are treated using a variety of methods.

The following treatments will work on regular warts but not those associated with the ones found on the genitals. There are a few over the counter methods that can be used that will have varying degrees of success depending on the type of wart.

Two types of products that are generally used include aerosol based treatments that freeze warts and salicylic acid based treatments. Either type can be used in the manner described on the package.

Freezing method

These treatments are administered directly to the wart using an aerosol can to spray the affected area. The contents of the can will usually have a temperature of around negative 70 degree Fahrenheit and will work by freezing the wart allowing it to dislodge from the skin. It is comparable to the treatments offered by dermatologist with the exception that those treatments will use liquid nitrogen which is far colder.

Salicylic acid

These types of treatments come in a variety of forms including gels, plasters, pads, drops and ointment. These may be used for both small and large wart varieties. Being a keratolytic, it works by shedding away the keratin and excessive skin layers that make up the wart. The time it takes to clear the wart will vary, depending on the size and severity of the wart.

Now you know the answer to the question, "What are warts?"