Warts: Everything You Need to Know

Have you noticed a rough bump on your hand or foot? It might be a wart. While common and generally harmless, warts can be unsightly and bothersome. If you are looking for information about warts, this guide from Capstone Medical Centre is here to help.

What are Warts?

Warts are noncancerous skin growths caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). There are over 150 strains of HPV, but only a handful cause warts. These strains infect the top layer of your skin, disrupting its growth and causing the characteristic bumpy appearance.

Why Do People Get Warts?

Anyone can develop warts, but children and young adults are more susceptible. This is because their immune systems are still developing and haven’t built up defenses against the wart-causing HPV strains.

HPV spreads through direct contact with infected skin. Here’s how it can happen:

  • Touching a wart: Shaking hands with someone who has a wart or picking at your own wart can introduce the virus.
  • Touching contaminated surfaces: The virus thrives in warm, moist environments like gym floors, public pools, or shared towels.
  • Biting or picking at your skin: This can create tiny breaks, making it easier for the virus to enter.

Do Warts Spread by Touch?

Yes, warts are contagious through direct contact with an infected wart or contaminated surfaces. It’s important to avoid picking at warts or touching them frequently.

Types of Warts and Their Appearance

Warts come in various shapes and sizes, depending on the HPV strain that caused them. Here’s a breakdown of the most common types:

  • Common warts: These are the most frequent, typically appearing on your hands, fingers, and around your knees. They’re rough to the touch, with a cauliflower-like appearance and tiny black dots in the center.
  • Plantar warts: These grow on the soles of your feet and can be quite painful because they grow inwards under pressure. They often look like calluses with black pinpricks.
  • Flat warts: These smooth, flat warts are typically flesh-colored or slightly brown and appear in clusters on your face, arms, or legs.
  • Filiform warts: These threadlike warts grow around your mouth, nose, and eyes.

Do Warts Go Away on Their Own?

The good news is that warts often disappear on their own within a few months to a few years, especially in children. This happens as your immune system fights off the HPV infection. However, waiting for this to happen may not be ideal, especially if the warts are in a visible area or causing discomfort.

Wart Treatment Options

Several ways to remove warts exist, and the best approach depends on the type, location, and severity. Here’s a look at common wart treatment options:

  • Over-the-counter (OTC) medications: These medicated salicylic acid pads or creams work by gradually killing the wart tissue. Consistent use is key for effectiveness.
  • Cryotherapy (freezing): Dermatologists use liquid nitrogen to freeze the wart, which destroys the wart tissue. This treatment might require multiple sessions.
  • Cantharidin: A topical medication a doctor uses that causes a blister to form under the wart. The dead skin is removed, and the wart is taken with it.
  • Surgical excision or laser removal: In rare cases, warts may be surgically removed with a scalpel or laser.

Taking Care of Your Skin

Here are some tips to help prevent warts and maintain healthy skin:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, especially after using public facilities.
  • Avoid sharing personal items like towels, razors, or shoes.
  • Wear shower shoes in public pools or locker rooms.
  • Don’t pick or bite at your skin, as this can create openings for the virus.
  • Keep your feet dry and wear properly fitted shoes. Moisture creates a breeding ground for the virus, especially on your feet.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet and adequate sleep to support your immune system. A strong immune system is better equipped to fight off the HPV virus.

Capstone Medical Centre Can Help

Warts are a common skin concern, but you can effectively manage them with proper knowledge and treatment options. At Capstone Medical Centre in Southbank, we understand how bothersome warts can be. 

Our experienced dermatologists can diagnose your warts, recommend the most suitable treatment plan, and effectively remove them. We offer various treatment options, including cryotherapy and cantharidin application, to ensure a successful outcome.

If you’re a Southbank resident experiencing warts, contact Capstone Medical Centre today. We offer convenient appointments and a comfortable environment. Call us or visit our website to schedule a consultation.


  • my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15045-warts#:~:text=Warts%20are%20skin%20growths%20that,help%20get%20rid%20of%20them.
  • healthline.com/health/skin/warts
  • mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/common-warts/symptoms-causes/syc-20371125