Common warts occur due to a virus known as the human papillomavirus (HPV). The infection causes the skin to develop rough, skin-colored bumps or grainy skin growths and can be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact. Common warts also have a pattern of tiny black dots, which are small, occluded blood vessels.
Warts frequently appear on the hands, feet, face, genitals, and knees. Warts are noncancerous but very contagious. In most cases, it will go away on its own. However, many people prefer to have them removed because they are uncomfortable or embarrassing. The treatment may include medication, laser therapy, freezing or surgery.
The virus causing common warts can be transmitted from person to person or from one area of the body to another. Once infected, warts will appear with the following characteristics:
- Tiny, fleshy, skin-colored bumps that may appear dome-shaped or flat
- Feels rough to the touch
- Covered in black pinpoints, which are tiny, occluded blood vessels
It is recommended to consult a healthcare provider immediately if the following are observed or experienced along with the appearance of warts:
- Appearance of multiple warts, which may indicate poor immunity
- Cannot confirm whether the growths are warts
- It produces pain
- Have a different look or color
- Continue to grow, spread, or reoccur despite the treatment
- Appears to be contaminated, red or pus-filled
Warts are highly contagious and result from infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV). However, not all individuals exposed to HPV will necessarily develop warts, as immune responses to the virus can vary. With more than 150 different strains, HPV is a widespread infection.
While some strains of HPV are primarily spread through sexual contact, only a limited number of strains cause warts on the hands. The majority of HPV strains are transmitted via skin-to-skin contact or through sharing of objects such as towels or washcloths. When the HPV penetrates a skin cut, it produces a skin infection that results in the formation of warts. Warts can also spread on the fingertips and around the nails if the person bite the nails.
Common warts are prevalent to the following individuals:
- Children, due to their frequent cuts.
- Children and young adults, whose body have poor immunity to the virus.
- Individuals with autoimmune diseases or compromised immune systems, such as the elderly, those with HIV/AIDS or those who have received organ transplants.