Warts are also known as verruca vulgaris, and while this common skin condition is prevalent in children and young adults, it can develop at any age. All warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) and can be spread through direct and indirect contact, such as through a cut or scrape in the skin.
Five Common Types Of Warts
The common wart earned its name due to the frequency of its appearance on the body. Ordinarily found on the hands, but frequently spread to the face through contact, common warts are grayer in appearance than surrounding tissue. These benign growths also have grainy, rough textures with rounded tops.
Periungual warts are generally located around or near the hand and/or foot nail beds. This type of wart may have a cauliflower-like or fissured appearance and be black, brown, or gray in color. However, new periungual warts are usually smooth and translucent. If left untreated, patients with periungual warts may develop paronychia, a soft tissue infection, and nail separation.
Most common in children and teenagers, flat warts are small, flat-topped growths with a smooth texture. This type of wart generally appears on the back of the hands, face, and/or legs and grow in clusters or groups of up to 200 warts. Flat warts have a range of colors, from flesh-colored to ruddy brown.
Most patients with a plantar wart experience pain or tenderness on their feet. These sensations usually occur in areas where a consistent pressure is applied, such as the ball of the foot. Visual characteristics of a plantar wart include a small, circular area with a middle indentation point. The area will appear more yellowed compared to the surrounding tissue.
Filiform warts are often confused with skin tags, which are not contagious and aren’t caused by HPV. This type of wart forms as a long, narrow protrusion from the skin and frequently develop around the eyelids and lips.
How To Prevent Warts From Spreading
While warts are generally contagious regardless of patient age, there are several steps to take to prevent warts from spreading, including:
- Wash your hands regularly;
- Avoid picking at or touching warts;
- Keep warts covered with a bandage or other covering;
- Keep surrounding skin and tissue dry;
- Don’t share personal items, such as nail polish and towels; and
- Avoid or be careful grooming, including shaving and/or trimming, areas where warts are visible.