Why you should not ignore

At A Glance


Warts are fleshy benign bumps on the skin or mucous membrane (the moist, inner lining of some of our organs and body cavities) like our nose and mouth.


Warts are an viral infection (not cancerous) that is caused by HPV aka Human Papillomavirus which causes an excess amount of keratin (a hard protein) to develop in the epidermis (the top layer of the skin)


These warts show up There are different strains of the HPV (Human Papillomavirus) family and those strains of cause warts to form on different parts of the body.



It’s safe to say that no one wants a wart. These unsightly bumps can appear on your face, hands, feet, and legs.

Warts, Defined

Warts are a viral infection of the very upper layer of skin. They are benign (not cancerous) but can cause a lot of trouble from their size and/or location.

-Common warts (verruca vulgaris the most common wart
-Flat warts (verruca plana)
-Genital warts
-Plantar and palmar warts
There are also filiform warts that are long and narrow growths that are usually located on eyelids, face, neck, and lips

Wart img e1675995572266

Why It Happens

The virus that causes common warts is called the human papilloma virus and infection is more likely where there is damage or injury to this upper layer of skin which can also be thought of as areas where the barrier or protective function of the skin is compromised. People with a reduced or weakened immune system can also be at greater risk for warts. Warts are contagious but intact skin and your immune system prevents widespread wart infection.

What are your treatment options?

Methods of treatment fall into one of two basic categories: destructive and immunologic. Destructive treatments refer to treatments that remove or damage the upper layer of skin that is infected with the wart. Destructive types of treatments include:

  • Cryotherapy or freezing with liquid nitrogen –most common treatment, best done in office, do not recommend OTC freeze methods.
  • Cantharidin – causes blister to form around wart, best for molluscum
  • Surgical or shave removal
  • Curettage – scraping of the thick wart with sharp tool, combined with other treatments, may be done at home after shower or bath
  • Laser treatment – Pulsed dye laser targets blood vessels in warts (the black dots)
    – Painful but can be very effective for the black
    dot type warts (lots of vascular target)
    – Effective for some flat warts
    – CO2 laser burns away upper layer of skin
    – Often difficult recovery and hard to remove all
    areas of wart infected skin so recurrence is
  • Salicylic acid (or salicylic acid in combination with 5-FU) liquid, paste, pads – home therapy either alone or in combination with in-office treatments
  • Duct tape – softens and removes layers of skin infected with wart has no other special functions


Wart Before


Wart After

Immunologic Treatments

Immunologic treatments refer to those treatments that work by stimulating the patient’s immune system to fight off the wart(s) – like trying to train or teach the immune system about the unwanted wart virus so that the immune system recognizes the wart as foreign and fights it off. The advantage of immunologic treatments is reduced chance of recurrence after treatment.

  • Topical DCP: One type of immunotherapy involves applying a chemical, such as diphencyprone (DCP), to the warts. A mild allergic reaction occurs around the treated warts. This reaction may cause the warts to go away.
  • Injection of candida (yeast) antigen: most immune systems will react to candida antigen. The goal is to inject the antigen into the wart so that the immune system fights the wart. Treatment of one or two warts can be enough to get an immune response that treats all the warts on the skin.
  • Topical imiquimod: Application of zyclara or aldara can stimulate local immune response. The imiquimod molecule will not penetrate the skin well so this must be combined with office treatment with cryotherapy, and home treatment with salicylic acid and/or curettage or shaving. The cream must also be covered with tape or bandaid after application to the skin

Bottom Line

They often disappear without treatment, especially in children. Adults find it hard to shake them off as quickly and easily as children can. You should see a dermatologish if they have many growths, or if they cause pain. There are many wart treatments available but no single treatment works for everyone. The treatment will depend on the type, age and their overall health.