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The Truth About Skin Warts

Author:Dr.Irena Mehandjiska Shumanska


Skin warts are caused by Human Papilloma Virus, also known as HPV. There are 60 different types of HPV that can cause warts.

Like any virus, HPV can not live on its own. The virus has to enter the human cell in order to replicate.

The virus, when it comes in contact with the skin, enters the keratinocytes (cells from the upper layer of the skin) and replicates, causing infection of the skin.

It can take a few months (after exposure) for the virus to begin to invade the skin cells and cause an actual infection.

Not everyone that will come in contact with the virus will get a wart. Warts may appear at any age but are most frequent in older children and uncommon in the elderly. They usually go away on their own, but it may take months or even years.


What exactly are the skin warts?

Skin warts are the abnormal growth of tissue and can be single or multiple. The size and shape depend on the location and the degree of irritation and trauma. Different kinds of irritants and trauma can provoke this kind of skin infection if your skin has come in contact with the virus before.

Types of different warts and symptoms

Common warts can grow on your toes and fingers but can also appear somewhere else on the body. They can be plantar warts that grow on the feet, and usually, they are painful and make walking uncomfortable. Another type of skin warts is flat warts that typically grow on the face, thighs, or arms. They have a flat top and can be pink or brownish. Filiform warts have a filiform shape and usually grow around the mouth, nose around the neck, or chin. Periungual warts (around the nail plate)are also common and genital warts that occur on the genitalia. Warts are not causing harm, but some people find them itchy, painful, or embarrassing.



The treatment depends on the lesion location, type, duration, and immune status. Warts can disappear spontaneously within two years, but some warts can causing symptoms like itching, pain, and discomfort.

There are a few possible treatments like:

*Using a solution of salicylic acid or a cream with salicylic acid and salicylic acid tape that is usually used for plantar warts and is kept in place for few days.

*Freezing the wart with liquid nitrogen(performed by a physician). 

*Laser surgery may be useful, but it might cause scarring.

*Painting the wart with a liquid called Cantharidin, which will turn the wart into a blister, and after that, the blister will dry out. The wart will heal after some time.

Using Duct Tape to Clear Viral Warts

A recent study showed that duct tape can be used for clearing warts. Here is how you can use the duct tape:

Cut a piece of the duct tape as the size of the wart and then put it on top of the wart and leave it in place for 6 days. After 6 days, take off the duct tape and soak the wart in warm water. Gently scrape off the dead skin. After that, leave the skin uncovered during the night. On the next day, put another piece of duct tape and leave it for another 6 days. Keep on doing this for about 2 months. If you notice skin irritation or it is very painful consult your doctor for further treatment. 


*When you go for a swimming cover the warts with plaster.

*Don’t share towels, shoes, and socks with other people.

*When you shave, pay attention not to cut a wart because it will spread the virus and cause wart on another place of the skin.

*Don’t scratch or touch a wart and don’t go barefoot in public places if you have a wart.


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"Papillomas (Warts) – National Library of Medicine". PubMed Health. Archived from the original on 2017-09-10. Retrieved 2016-11-06.

^ a b c d e f g h i "Warts: Overview". U.S. National Library of Medicine. 30 July 2014. Archivedfrom the original on 10 September 2017.

Bope, Edward T.; Kellerman, Rick D. (2012). Conn's Current Therapy 2012. Elsevier Health Sciences. p. 275. ISBN 978-1455733057. Archived from the original on 2016-11-07.