Warts are small growths on the skin caused by a virus known as human papillomavirus (HPV). Warts are extremely common: it is estimated that about 25% of the population have a wart at any one time. Luckily, most warts are harmless. However, since they're caused by a virus, warts are very contagious.
Warts can grow anywhere on the skin. There are 6 clinically different types:
- Common warts have a rather bumpy surface and appear most often on the hands and fingers (of children, in particular).
- Flat or plane warts are small, smooth warts appearing in clusters on the back of the hands, face, or legs. These are often difficult to treat.
- Plantar warts are those appearing on the soles of the feet.
- Filiform warts form long, thin projections around the eyes, face, and neck.
- Periungual warts (common in people who bite their nails) occur under and around the fingernails.
- Genital (venereal) warts are those appearing on the genitalia.
Keep in mind that some warts can become cancerous, and some skin cancers can look like warts, so always get them checked by your doctor. Also remember, the sooner a wart is treated, the easier it will be to destroy – so don't procrastinate.