About Warts

What is a Wart?

wart removal cream A WART is an intra epidermal or skin tumor caused by a variety of viruses. The many varieties of warts that exist are named by the way they appear or where they are located. A wart is a small, circumscribed tumor of the outer or horny layer of the skin. There are flat and smooth warts as well as elevated warts, warts that are firm and rise from the surrounding skin. Mainly caused by the Human Papilloma Virus(HPV), they vary in size and may be accompanied by pain, especially if they occur in the feet (plantar warts). The Human Papilloma Virus belongs to the family of viruses that causes warts and has been implicated as a possible cause of genital cancers and, more recently, cancers and other abnormal growths of the eye.

Types of Warts

  • Common warts (Verruca Vulgaris) – These usually grow on the fingers and on the backs of hands.
  • Foot warts (Verruca Plantaris) – These are usually on the soles or the plantar area of the feet and are also referred to as plantar warts.
  • Flat warts – These are smaller and smoother than other warts with the tendency to grow in large numbers, 20 to 100 at a time. They can be expected to grow anywhere. Among children they are most common on the face (facial warts). In adults they are often found in the chin area in men and on the legs in women.
  • Genital warts – These grow on the genitals and rectal area.
  • Mosaic warts – Attributes its name to the vast number of warts that appear in a contiguous pattern. The Mater (mother) wart will present itself in the center of the mosaic wart with small satellite lesions surrounding it.

More Info About Warts

Contagious and autoinculable

Warts are contagious and may be passed from one person to another through touching. It is also possible to get warts by using objects used by a person who has warts. Genital warts can be transmitted to an uninfected person during sexual intercourse. Among women, warts can grow undetected on the cervix or inside the vagina. Women can infect their sexual partner without either of them knowing it.

Warts can spread and form daughter warts

Warts are known to spread in location to other parts of the body, and more importantly, to other people. In a few cases, they have also been known to heal by themselves. However, wart treatment is important not only to prevent it from spreading, but to eliminate it, as well.


Infectious in origin

As with other viral infections, warts are highly contagious. The truth is one can “self-spread” these lesions. Plantar warts, also known as foot warts, commonly begin in areas where skin is traumatized. One can also get plantar warts from communal areas such as locker rooms, public or even private bathrooms and hotel rooms. To minimize the spread of warts to others while in such settings, the use of disinfectants, sandals and clean towels is encouraged.

Wart Post-Treatment Problem with Surgeries or Other Products

High Recurrence Rate of Warts

Depending on the wart treatment and the type of wart involved (common wart, hand wart, plantar wart, genital wart), different recurrence rates have been recorded. A common wart removal treatment currently used in the United States is a self-applied, 5% imiquimod cream that stimulates the immune system to fight off the virus and lesions. Common warts have a recurrence rate of about 13-19% with this treatment.

Sometimes large warts are surgically removed under local anesthesia. This type of wart removal treatment has a recurrence rate of about 21%. In a study using self-applied podofilox gel, the cure rate was low at only 51% but the recurrence rate was only about 10%. For cryosurgery, the recurrence rate is quite high at 73%.