Warts are non-cancerous skin growths caused by a viral infection in the top layer of the skin. Warts are usually skin-colored and feel rough to the touch, but they can be dark, flat and smooth. The appearance of a wart depends on where it is growing.

Common warts – usually grow on the fingers, around the nails and on the backs of the hands.

Foot warts – are usually on the soles (plantar area) of the feet and are called plantar warts.

Flat warts – are often too numerous to treat with methods mentioned above. As a result, “peeling” methods using daily applications of topical treatments are often recommended. For some adults, minor office treatments or surgical treatments are sometimes necessary.

Sometimes it seems as if new warts appear as fast as old ones go away. This may happen because the old warts have shed virus into the surrounding skin before they were treated. In reality new “baby” warts are growing up around the original “mother” warts. The best way to limit this is to treat new warts as quickly as they develop so they have little time to shed virus into nearby skin. A check by your dermatologist can help assure the treated wart has resolved completely.

Treatment Options

For adults and older children freezing is generally preferred. This treatment is not too painful and rarely results in scarring. However, repeat treatments at one to three week intervals are often necessary. Burning is another good alternative treatment.

There are some wart remedies available without a prescription. However, you might mistake another kind of skin growth for a wart, and end up treating something more serious as though it were a wart. If you have any questions about either the diagnosis or the best way to treat a wart, you should seek a dermatologist’s advice.

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