Warts come from the HPV or human papillomavirus, appearing as lumps or growths on skin tissue. Often they will be a bit of a different color than the normal pigment of the skin. They are most definitely not limited to witches or hags from fairy tale stories, but are common, especially for children. In most cases, they do not cause pain (save some plantar warts, which grow on the soles of your feet). They are spread through direct contact, which indicates that regular interaction or contact with an individual who has warts can make you more likely to get them yourself.

The HPV Virus (Wart Virus)

A common virus, HPV affects many people who may not even know it because their skin does not form warts. The reason for this is that many people’s bodies are able to fight off the virus upon recognition before warts are formed. When the skin is scratched, cut, or wounded, HPV can get into the skin tissue and infect it to form warts. The skin cells then reproduce at accelerated rates to form growths at the infection site. Sometimes it takes a full year after exposure to HPV for warts to actually form.

Different Wart Types


Plantar warts

Plantar warts are warts that form on your feet, specifically on the soles. They can become painful because of the pressure you put on your feet when standing or walking.

Verruca vulgaris (Common warts)

As their name indicates, these warts are common, often forming on your hands. They may form anywhere on the skin, and they can form in groups.

Flat warts

Less easily recognizable, these warts are smaller than other warts and usually grow on your legs or your face.

Treatment of Warts

For many, warts will eventually go away or fall off without needing treatment because their bodies’ immune systems will fight off the virus. This can take a full 2 years for children and as long as 5 to 7 years for adults. For those who do not want to wait for their bodies to attack the wart virus, there are a few common treatments that can prove effective.

Cryotherapy: This involves freezing the wart so that it will fall off.

Prescription Medicines or Over the Counter Medicines Occlusion: You can use tape (particularly duct tape) or a bandage of sorts to keep the wart covered so that the skin tissue will heal.


Because of the nature of the wart virus, warts can recur. Thus, it may take multiple treatments in succession for getting rid of warts. Warts that do not react to these treatments or who keep recurring can be treated in additional ways. Speak with a dermatologist for more information.