Warts are skin growths caused by a virus — human papillomavirus or HPV — that infects the top layer of the skin.

Warts are often skin-colored, but they can be brown or gray-black in color, flat and either rough or smooth.

The viruses that cause warts are contagious. Warts can spread by contact with the wart or something that touched the wart. Anyone can get warts, but you are more likely to get warts if you cut or damage your skin or have a weakened immune system.

There are several types of warts, which differ by where they grow on the body and what they look like.

Common warts often have these traits:

  • Grow on the fingers and backs of the hands.
  • Are more common where skin was broken, such as from biting fingernails or picking at hangnails.
  • Can have black dots that look like seeds.
  • Feel like rough bumps.

Foot warts, or plantar warts, often have these traits:

  • Grow most often on the bottom of the feet.
  • Grow in clusters.
  • Often are flat and may grow into the skin.
  • May hurt.
  • May have black dots.

Flat warts often have these traits:

  • Can occur anywhere on the body.
  • Are smaller and smoother than other warts.
  • Tend to grow in large numbers.

Filiform warts often have these traits:

  • Look like long threads.
  • Grow around the mouth, eyes and nose.
  • May grow quickly.

There are many treatments for warts, including freezing, electrosurgery, scraping them or applying cantharidin.

Your Surgical Dermatology Group provider can provide an individualized treatment plan.

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