Warts are benign skin growths caused by viral infection of the top layers of the skin by the human papilloma virus (HPV). They typically cause raised rough skin-colored lesions on the hands and fingers “common warts” and soles of the feet and toes “plantar warts”. They sometimes are referred to as “seed” warts because the small blood vessel supply to the wart produces black dots that look like seeds. “Flat warts”, also common, are usually smaller and smoother and present in larger numbers in areas of trauma, such as the face in children and shaved areas of adults. Warts can also affect the genitalia of sexually active individuals “genital (or venereal) warts” with some strains of HPV even being carcinogenic.
Though warts are generally harmless, and many disappear on their own without treatment (especially in children) or with over the counter remedies; bothersome, persistent, multiplying or painful warts should be evaluated and treated in the office by a Dermatologist to choose the most efficient plan to eradicate the lesions and reduce the associated symptoms and chance of further spread. Unfortunately, most forms of treatments may involve a few or more office visits.