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Warts

​​​​​​​​​Warts are skin growths caused by a virus.

They can appear almost anywhere on your body and usually are not painful.

The Dermatologists at Marshfield Clinic diagnose and treat all conditions and diseases of the skin.​

What are warts?

Warts are noncancerous skin growths caused by the papillomavirus. Warts are more common in children than adults, although they can develop at any age.

Warts can spread to other parts of the body and to other people. There are many different types of warts, due to many different papillomavirus types (more than 100).

Warts usually aren't painful, except when located on the feet. Most warts go away, without treatment, over an extended period of time.

Common types of warts

The following are the more common types of warts:

Common warts

Growths around nails and the back of hands; usually have a rough surface; grayish-yellow or brown in color.

Hand and foot warts

Located on the soles of feet (plantar warts) or the palms of the hand (palmar warts) with black dots (clotted blood vessels that once fed them); clusters of plantar warts are called mosaic; can be painful.

Flat warts

Small, smooth growths that grow in groups up to 100 at a time; most often appear on children's faces.

Genital warts

Grow on the genitals and are occasionally sexually transmitted; are soft and don't have a rough surface like other common warts.

Filiform warts

Small, long, narrow growths that usually appear on eyelids, face, or neck.

What is the treatment for warts?

Specific treatment for warts will be discussed with you by your healthcare provider based on:

  • Your age, overall health, and medical history

  • Extent of the growths

  • Your tolerance for specific medicines, procedures, or therapies

  • Expectations for the course of the growths

  • Your opinion or preference

Warts often disappear without treatment. Treatment of warts depends on several factors, including:

  • Length of time on the skin

  • Location

  • Type

  • Severity

Treatment may include:

  • Application of salicylic and lactic acid (to soften the infected area)

  • Freezing with liquid nitrogen

  • Electrodesiccation (to destroy the wart with an electrical current)

  • Immunotherapy

  • Laser surgery

  • Prescription creams, such as imiquimod 

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Contact us for care

If this is a medical emergency, call 911.

Call: 1-866-520-2510

(Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.)

Take the Rosacea Quiz

About 16 million people in the U.S. have rosacea. Take this quiz to find out how much you know about this skin condition.

1. Rosacea affects mainly the back and the belly (abdomen).
2. Rosacea is a disease that develops in childhood and slowly gets worse.
3. Women develop more severe symptoms of rosacea than men.
4. Rosacea is sorted into 4 types based on symptoms.
5. Spicy foods can trigger a flare-up of rosacea.
6. Your eyesight is usually harmed if rosacea affects your eyes.
7. A tiny mite that lives in the hair follicles may cause rosacea.
8. Rosacea is usually treated with an antibiotic used on the skin (topical).
9. Another way to treat rosacea is to stay away from triggers.
10. Wearing sunscreen is a must if you have rosacea.