Types Of Warts & How To Identify Them

Types Of Warts & How To Identify Them

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

Common 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

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.

Flat Warts

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.

Plantar Warts

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

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.

Treatments For Various Types Of Warts

Many warts disappear without dermatological treatment over several months. Your Gainesville dermatologist may use one or a combination of these treatment methods to remove the wart. The type of treatment depends on many factors, including:

  • If any additional infection is present;
  • If any prior treatments were performed; and
  • The location, number, and size of the wart(s).


Also called freezing, cryotherapy uses liquid nitrogen to freeze the tissue through multiple appointments until the wart is removed. This treatment is mostly used for common warts.

Electrosurgery & Curettage

Used for common, filiform, and plantar warts, electrosurgery and curettage are generally paired together to provide an effective treatment for these types of warts. Your dermatologist scrapes off the tissue with a sharp knife or spoon-shaped instrument either before or after the wart is burned, depending on the situation.


With excision, a type of wart removal, the wart is cut out. This technique is usually reserved for hardened and small warts or warts that have grown together.


Immunotherapy is a treatment method which relies on a patient’s immune system to resolve warts. This treatment is usually employed when no other treatment has been effective.

Chemical Peels

Chemical peels use medical-grade glycolic acid, salicylic acid, and tretinoin to remove the affected wart tissue. It’s a common Gainesville Dermatology treatment that is generally done at home between appointments.

Laser Treatment

This treatment is generally only used when no other treatment has been effective and/or the wart is large or widespread. Laser treatment burns away the wart tissue after the area has been numbed with a local anesthetic.

When To Visit A Gainesville Dermatologist For Warts

Warts can generally be treated at home with many over-the-counter medications. But you should contact a dermatologist Gainesville residents trust with Gainesville Dermatology & Skin Surgery if:

  • Pain and/or tenderness increases;
  • Warts don’t respond to treatment, or spread or reappear after at-home treatment;
  • There is a change in wart color and/or texture; and
  • You develop numerous warts as an adult.

Comprehensive Gainesville Dermatology & Skin Surgery

Though warts are common and can develop at any age, many people look for quick and effective solutions to these unsightly blemishes. The dermatologists with Gainesville Dermatology & Skin Surgery use the latest techniques to create custom wart treatment plans for each patient. To schedule an appointment, contact us today.