What are Common Warts?

Common warts, also known as verruca Vulgaris, are a common dermatological condition that causes small, fleshy growths on the skin. They are most often found on the hands or fingers, but can also occur in any other non-genital location. Common warts are caused by an infection with certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV) – an umbrella term for a large group of viruses causing different conditions.[1]

HPV is contagious, meaning common warts can be passed from person to person, whether through direct skin-to-skin contact or indirectly through contact with a surface or object that is carrying the virus. People with weakened immune systems and children are more at risk of developing common warts.

The condition is generally considered to be non-serious and will often clear naturally without treatment. However, if necessary, treatment options, including minor removal procedures and home remedies, are available.[2]

Symptoms of common warts

Common warts are easy to recognize and differentiate from other warts, such as genital warts, filiform warts, or plantar warts. They typically appear on the hands or fingers, though can appear in any non-genital location, including the knees, ankles, arms, and legs. If you think that you may have common warts, Please check with your doctor Find my Doctor to find out more about your symptoms.

Common warts are generally:[3]

  • Small, raised skin growths
  • Oval or round in shape
  • Rough to the touch
  • Hard around the edges and softer in the middle
  • Speckled with small black dots or “seeds”

Good to know: The small black dots or spots in a wart are sometimes called wart “seeds”. However, these are not seeds at all, they are actually small blood vessels.[4]

When to see a doctor

Medical attention should be sought if:[5]

  • Warts cause pain or change color
  • Warts spread, do not respond to treatment or frequently recur
  • The person has a weakened immune system
  • There is uncertainty as to whether the growths are common warts or a different condition

What causes common warts?

Common warts are caused by infection with human papillomavirus (HPV). There are over 100 different types of HPV that a person can contract, each affecting one or several different areas of the body and causing various conditions.

HPV infects the skin through small cuts, scrapes, or weak spots, with warts appearing approximately two to six months later… The virus causes the protein keratin to develop in excess on the surface of the skin, resulting in the appearance of a wart.[6][7]

Common warts are particularly prevalent in children and young adults, as well as people with weakened immune systems as a result of conditions such as HIV/AIDS, certain other severe and long-lasting medical conditions, receiving certain kinds of chemotherapy, or after procedures such as organ transplantation and the ensuing treatment.[6]

HPV is contagious and is passed on through direct skin-to-skin contact or indirect contact with objects or surfaces. Damaged or wet skin is most likely to pick up the virus, meaning locations such as swimming pools and showers, especially public ones, are particularly common sources of infection.[8]

Diagnosing common warts

In the majority of cases, a doctor or dermatologist will be able to diagnose common warts through a simple physical examination. If further confirmation is needed, a skin biopsy may be ordered. To do this, the top layer of a wart will be scraped off and sent to a laboratory for testing. This is a straightforward and minimally invasive procedure.[9]

Common warts treatment

Common warts will often disappear without treatment, especially in childhood. However, common warts can also be persistent and last for a significant amount of time. They can sometimes be painful and unsightly, especially when they form in clusters. In these cases, treatment options are available.[10]

Prescription wart treatments

Prescription wart treatments may be used in conjunction with home remedies or when home treatment options seem unlikely to clear the condition. The method chosen by the doctor or dermatologist will depend on the severity of warts, the symptoms, and the general health of the person.[11]

Common treatments

  • Salicylic acid: This is a popular method for treating warts. Salicylic acid works by gradually dissolving layers of the wart tissue, eventually resulting in total removal. It is generally applied to the wart as a gel or liquid. Though salicylic acid is also available in over-the-counter products, prescription varieties are typically stronger and more effective. Along with peeling away the surface of the warts, salicylic acid may also encourage the body’s immune system to combat the virus.
  • Cryotherapy: Generally performed by a doctor or dermatologist, cryotherapy is a method of freezing warts using liquid nitrogen. After around a week, the resulting dead tissue can be sloughed off. Repeated cryotherapy sessions may be necessary.

Less common treatments

If the above options are ineffective, other, less common treatment methods may be used. These include:[12]

  • Trichloroacetic acid: This is a strong acid applied by a doctor or dermatologist to the warts.[13]
  • Immunotherapy: The affected person is given antigens, substances which encourage the body’s immune system to fight the wart itself. This treatment is generally reserved for those with recurring common warts.[14]
  • Electrosurgery: This method involves burning away the wart tissue using a specially designed heated needle. A local anesthetic will usually be required to numb the pain, and scarring is possible.
  • Laser treatment: A laser is used to burn off the skin tissue and remove the wart. It is generally considered to be a last resort option due to the likelihood of scarring and the extended recovery time.[15]

Home remedies and over-the-counter products for common warts

Given that common warts are generally non-serious, some people may choose to try and treat them at home, possibly after visiting a pharmacy, before seeking professional medical advice. Common techniques for doing this include:[16]

  • Salicylic acid products: Non-prescription salicylic acid products, such as plasters, gels and rubs, are available from most pharmacies. These salicylic acid products work in the same way as the prescription version, though may be less powerful. Repeated application will generally be necessary.
  • Liquid nitrogen: Non-prescription liquid nitrogen products are generally available from pharmacies for application at home, usually in the form of a liquid or gel.
  • Apple cider vinegar: A possible remedy is to mix two parts apple cider vinegar with one part water, apply this to the wart using a cotton ball, and leave the wart to soak in the solution for at least 20 minutes. Repeat this process until the warts have disappeared. Discontinue or consult a medical professional if you experience severe skin irritation or severe pain, and in case of any doubt, always consult a doctor first.[17][18]

It can take a significant amount of time before home remedies make a difference, and they may not result in wart removal or cause side effects. If treatments prove ineffective or side effects are strong or worrying, seeking professional medical advice is recommended.

Common warts prevention

It can be difficult to fully avoid contracting common warts, and most people experience them at some point in their life. However, certain preventative measures can help reduce the risk. These include:[19]

  • Avoiding contact with other people’s warts
  • Avoiding contact with clothing, objects or surfaces that may be carrying the virus, e.g. by wearing water shoes or flip-flops in a public pool or public showers

If a person already has warts, they should take steps to avoid spreading the virus to other areas of the body or to other people. They can:

  • Avoid unnecessarily touching or scratching the warts
  • Cover warts with a plaster, especially when swimming
  • Wash the hands regularly, especially after contact with the warts
  • Avoid sharing towels and clothing that may come in contact with warts

Common warts FAQs

u003cstrongu003eAre common warts contagious by touch?u003c/strongu003e

The virus that causes common warts, human papillomavirus (HPV), is contagious. Children and people with weakened immune systems are particularly at risk of contracting HPV, which can be spread through skin-to-skin contact or through contact with an object or surface carrying the virus. The risk of contracting HPV is especially high in warm, wet conditions, such as those found at a swimming pool or in a locker room.u003csupu003eu003ca href=u0022https://adoctor.org/wp-admin/post.php?post=4781u0026amp;action=edit#fn4u0022u003e[4]u003c/au003eu003c/supu003e

u003cstrongu003eAre common warts HPV?u003c/strongu003e

Common warts are caused by infection with human papillomavirus (HPV), which is an umbrella term for over 100 types of viruses. Certain strains of HPV can cause common warts to develop on the hands, fingers, and other non-genital areas of the body. Other strains of HPV can cause different types of warts to appear on different parts of the body, including sexually transmittable u003ca href=u0022https://adoctor.org/conditions/genital-warts/u0022u003egenital wartsu003c/au003e, or different conditions altogether, including, in rare cases, u003ca href=u0022https://adoctor.org/conditions/cervical-cancer/u0022u003ecervical canceru003c/au003e or u003ca href=u0022https://adoctor.org/conditions/anal-cancer/u0022u003eanal canceru003c/au003e.

u003cstrongu003eAre common warts the same as genital warts?u003c/strongu003e

No, common warts are not the same as genital warts. Though both types of warts are caused by the HPV group of viruses, the strains that cause each type are different and so are the methods of transmission. Unlike common warts, genital warts are spread through sexual contact, they are an STI/STD. Common warts cannot spread to the pubic area and genital warts cannot spread to the hands or other parts of the body.u003csupu003eu003ca href=u0022https://adoctor.org/wp-admin/post.php?post=4781u0026amp;action=edit#fn20u0022u003e[20]u003c/au003eu003ca href=u0022https://adoctor.org/wp-admin/post.php?post=4781u0026amp;action=edit#fn1u0022u003e[1]u003c/au003eu003ca href=u0022https://adoctor.org/wp-admin/post.php?post=4781u0026amp;action=edit#fn21u0022u003e[21]u003c/au003eu003c/supu003e Read more about u003ca href=u0022https://adoctor.org/conditions/genital-warts/u0022u003egenital wartsu003c/au003e.

u003cstrongu003eCan you get a common wart on your arm?u003c/strongu003e

Yes. Though common warts often develop on the hands or fingers, they can also appear anywhere else on the body other than the genital area.

u003cstrongu003eWhat is the difference between common warts and plantar warts?u003c/strongu003e

Both common warts and plantar warts are a product of the human papillomavirus (HPV) group of viruses. Unlike plantar warts, however, common warts can develop anywhere on the body, though most typically grow on the hands and fingers. u003ca href=u0022https://adoctor.org/conditions/plantar-warts/u0022u003ePlantar wartsu003c/au003e are found on the feet only.u003csupu003eu003ca href=u0022https://adoctor.org/wp-admin/post.php?post=4781u0026amp;action=edit#fn22u0022u003e[22]u003c/au003eu003c/supu003e

u003cstrongu003eWhat is the difference between common warts and water warts?u003c/strongu003e

Common warts are caused by infection with HPV. Water warts, also known as molluscum contagiosum, are caused by infection with the molluscum contagiosum virus. The infection causes small, painless raised bumps or lesions on the skin, which often appear in groups and typically clear up on their own.u003csupu003eu003ca href=u0022https://adoctor.org/wp-admin/post.php?post=4781u0026amp;action=edit#fn23u0022u003e[23]u003c/au003eu003c/supu003e

u003cstrongu003eWhat kind of wart do I have?u003c/strongu003e

If you are concerned about a wart or another skin condition, contact your doctor’s u003ca href=u0022https://adoctor.org/u0022u003eFind My doctor locationu003c/au003e to find out more about your symptoms. To receive a confirmed diagnosis, however, it is necessary to see a licensed doctor.

u003cstrongu003eDo common warts bleed?u003c/strongu003e

A common wart should not bleed unless it is scraped, scratched, or injured in some way. If a wart bleeds without a clear cause or bleeds profusely after injury, it is important to consult a doctor without delay.u003csupu003eu003ca href=u0022https://adoctor.org/wp-admin/post.php?post=4781u0026amp;action=edit#fn7u0022u003e[7]u003c/au003eu003ca href=u0022https://adoctor.org/wp-admin/post.php?post=4781u0026amp;action=edit#fn24u0022u003e[24]u003c/au003eu003c/supu003e

u003cstrongu003eCan common warts be painful?u003c/strongu003e

While most warts do not cause pain, some can, especially if they grow in an area that is pressed on often, e.g. a fingertip. If a common wart is painful, it is recommended that you see a doctor to make sure it is not serious and to receive appropriate treatment.u003csupu003eu003ca href=u0022https://adoctor.org/wp-admin/post.php?post=4781u0026amp;action=edit#fn25u0022u003e[25]u003c/au003eu003c/supu003e

u003cstrongu003eCan a common wart get infected?u003c/strongu003e

A wart itself is the result of infection of the skin with HPV. Warts do not generally become infected with bacteria unless they are scratched, cut, or otherwise injured in some way. In such cases, it is possible that bacteria may enter the wart or surrounding area, and a bacterial infection may result, causing pain, discoloration, and other symptoms. If you are concerned that a wart may be infected, it is advisable to consult a doctor.u003csupu003eu003ca href=u0022https://adoctor.org/wp-admin/post.php?post=4781u0026amp;action=edit#fn26u0022u003e[26]u003c/au003eu003c/supu003e

u003cstrongu003eShould I be concerned about common warts during pregnancy?u003c/strongu003e

No, infection with HPV should not pose any risk to your baby. As in any case of common warts, no treatment may be necessary, though options are available over the counter and from doctors.u003csupu003eu003ca href=u0022https://adoctor.org/wp-admin/post.php?post=4781u0026amp;action=edit#fn27u0022u003e[27]u003c/au003eu003c/supu003e

u003cstrongu003eDoes duct tape work on common warts?u003c/strongu003e

Occasionally recommended as a home remedy for warts, duct tape has not been confirmed as an effective treatment. Research is conflicting, but some people believe that doing the following may help to get rid of a common wart:u003cbru003eCovering the wart with a small piece of duct tapeu003cbru003eRemoving the duct tape every three to six days and gently using an emery board or pumice stone on the wartu003cbru003eCovering the wart with a fresh piece of duct tape about 10 to 12 hours lateru003cbru003eResults may only be seen after a number of weeks, if at all. Duct tape can u003cbru003ecause skin irritation, bleeding, and pain when removed. It should never be used in sensitive areas, such as the underarms or face.u003csupu003eu003ca href=u0022https://adoctor.org/wp-admin/post.php?post=4781u0026amp;action=edit#fn28u0022u003e[28]u003c/au003eu003c/supu003e

u003cstrongu003eWhat are the signs that a common wart is going away?u003c/strongu003e

When it is clearing up, or “dying”, a wart may shrink and start to disappear. This may happen on its own or with treatment.u003csupu003eu003ca href=u0022https://adoctor.org/wp-admin/post.php?post=4781u0026amp;action=edit#fn29u0022u003e[29]u003c/au003eu003c/supu003e

u003cstrongu003eWhat should I do if a common wart won’t go away?u003c/strongu003e

If a wart does not go away after treatment with prescription and/or home remedies, it is recommended that you see a doctor rule out other conditions and ensure that the most appropriate treatment is being used.

Other names associated with common warts

  • Verruca vulgaris
  • Palmar warts, sometimes misspelled as palmer warts

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Infection.” January 25, 2017. Accessed October 16, 2018.

  2. Mayo Clinic. “Common warts – Definition.” April 9, 2015. Accessed August 15, 2017.

  3. EndWarts. “Warts on hands and fingers?” Accessed August 15, 2017.

  4. WebMD. “Warts: 10 Answers to Frequently Asked Questions.” July 15, 2017. Accessed August 17, 2017.

  5. Mayo Clinic. “Common warts – Symptoms.” April 9, 2015. Accessed August 15, 2017.

  6. UpToDate. “Cutaneous warts (common, plantar, and flat warts).” July 26, 2017. Accessed August 15, 2017.

  7. NHS inform. “Warts and verrucas.” December 22, 2017. Accessed February 24, 2018.

  8. Patient. “Warts and Verrucas.” May 8, 2015. Accessed August 15, 2017.

  9. American Academy of Dermatology.“How do dermatologists diagnose warts?” Accessed August 16, 2017.

  10. American Academy of Dermatology.“How do dermatologists treat warts?” Accessed August 16, 2017.

  11. Mayo Clinic. “Common warts – Treatment and drugs.” April 9, 2015. Accessed August 16, 2017.

  12. American Academy of Dermatology. “How do dermatologists treat warts?” Accessed August 16, 2017.

  13. Journal of drugs in dermatology. “Comparative study of topical 80% trichloroacetic acid with 35% trichloroacetic acid in the treatment of the common wart.” November, 2012. Accessed February 24, 2018.

  14. The Egyptian Journal of Dermatology and Venereology. “Immunotherapy of viral warts: myth and reality.” August 7, 2015. Accessed August 16, 2017.

  15. EndWarts. “Laser for wart removal.” Accessed August 16, 2017.

  16. Mayo Clinic. “Common warts – Lifestyle and home remedies.” April 9, 2015. Accessed August 16, 2017.

  17. EndWarts. “Natural home remedies for warts.” Accessed August 16, 2017.

  18. Healthline. “Can You Remove Warts with Apple Cider Vinegar?” September 5, 2017. Accessed October 19, 2018.

  19. Bupa. “Prevention of warts and verrucas.” Accessed August 16, 2017.

  20. Bellflower Clinic. “HPV.” April 4, 2017. Accessed October 16, 2018.

  21. Dermatology Associates of Atlanta, PC. “Warts vs. Genital Warts.” August 15, 2017. Accessed October 16, 2018.

  22. WebMD. “Warts and Plantar Warts: Topic Overview.” Accessed August 16, 2017.

  23. Healthline. “Molluscum Contagiosum.” April 5, 2018. Accessed October 17, 2018.

  24. Penn State Hershey. “Warts.” October 24, 2016. Accessed October 17, 2018.

  25. Healthline. “Warts.” April 20, 2017. Accessed October 17, 2018.

  26. HealthClover. “How to Treat a Painful Wart Infection.” August 7, 2018. Accessed October 18, 2018.

  27. Healthline. “What Are the Risks of HPV During Pregnancy?” May 11, 2016. Accessed August 16, 2017.

  28. Healthline. “Can Duct Tape Get Rid of Warts?” February 13, 2018. Accessed October 18, 2018.

  29. Medscape. “Treatment of Warts.” Accessed October 18, 2018.

**What are Common Warts?**


Common warts are non-cancerous skin growths caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). They are typically⁣ small, raised, and rough to the touch, with ‌a cauliflower-like appearance.


* **Appearance:** Common warts are‌ usually round or oval in shape,‍ with a rough, scaly surface.

* **Size and Shape:** They typically range in ​size ⁣from 1 to 10 ‌millimeters,⁣ but can grow larger. They can be single or clustered.

* **Location:** Warts can occur anywhere on the body, but they are most commonly found on the fingers, hands, knees, and elbows.


* **HPV Infection:** Common warts are caused by⁣ specific strains of the human papillomavirus, which is transmitted​ through direct skin-to-skin contact or contact ⁤with contaminated ⁢objects.

* **Immune⁤ System:** A weakened immune system can⁣ increase the risk of developing warts.

* **Shared Surfaces:** Sharing towels,⁣ personal care ‍items, or gym equipment can also increase the risk of‍ transmission.


* Warts may cause itching or discomfort, especially when located ‍on sensitive⁣ areas like the hands or feet.

* Warts‍ can⁢ be unsightly and may ⁢affect self-esteem.


* **Over-the-counter Medications:** Topical‌ treatments containing salicylic ⁢acid or imiquimod can ​help remove warts.

* **Cryotherapy:** Liquid nitrogen is applied to freeze and destroy the wart.

* **Laser Therapy:**⁤ Lasers can precisely target and remove warts.

* **Surgery:** Surgical⁤ removal may be ‍necessary for large or stubborn warts.


* ⁣**Good ⁤Hygiene:** Wash ​your hands frequently with soap and warm water.

* **Avoid⁤ Skin Contact:** Cover open cuts or sores to prevent the virus from entering the ​skin.

* **Personal Belongings:** Do not share towels, razors, or​ other personal care items.

* **HPV Vaccination:** The HPV vaccine‌ can protect against some strains of HPV that cause warts.


* Common Warts

* Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

* Skin Growths

* Warts on Hands

* Warts on Feet

* Wart Removal

* ‍HPV Treatment

* HPV‍ Vaccine


  1. Warts are a common skin condition caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). They can appear anywhere on the body, but are most often found on the hands, feet, and genitals. Warts are usually harmless, but can be painful and embarrassing.

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