Common warts

logo ... illustrating dermatology

wart on
                      the hand
What is a wart?
Warts (also knowns as common or viral warts) are extremely common harmless skin lesions that appear during childhood or adult life. They are growths caused by a virus from the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) family.

Symptoms of common warts

Warts have a rough surface. They often show little black spots. These spots are tiny thrombosed capillaries. Common warts can arise at the hands and feet, but also around the mouth or the nose. Another common location is around the nail: they can even grow partly under the nailplate.

What is the cause of common warts?

Almost all common warts are caused bij HPV type 1, 2 or 3. They can be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact. As a rule, they disappear without treatment. In children 90% of the warts disappear within 2 years. In adults they are usually more persistent but in a large majority of cases they clear up eventually.


Many different treatment regimens of common warts have been tried. Many of them are very uncomfortable and success is not guaranteed. Treatment options include:

* salicylic acid application
* liquid nitrogen (cryotherapy, freezing)
* electrosurgery (local anaesthesia is necessary)
* laser (CO2 or pulse dye laser)

wart in the nose

                      between toes

wart at the nail
common wart near the

Further reading on common viral warts

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