Warts on the skin are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) and usually appear from spring to summer. Depending on the location, they are classified into “common warts,” “plantar warts,” “flat warts,” and “genital warts.”
Common warts are the most common type of wart and usually appear on the surface of the skin as rough and raised bumps, mainly on the back of the hands or around the nails, or on the face. They can be treated with cryotherapy, where liquid nitrogen is used to freeze and thaw the wart and surrounding skin. Treatment usually requires several sessions spaced two to three weeks apart.
Plantar warts can resemble calluses and can appear on weight-bearing areas of the feet. A key way to distinguish them from calluses is that warts are more painful when squeezed, and if the surface layer is removed, there may be several small black spots caused by thrombosis of the tiny blood vessels. Plantar warts often occur where the skin has been damaged, but they can also occur without an apparent cause. When the virus spreads, small warts around the central wart can fuse together to form a larger plaque. This is known as mosaic warts.
Flat warts can occur anywhere on the body and usually appear as slightly raised, flat, yellowish lesions compared to the surrounding normal skin. They can be removed using laser therapy, but they often recur.
Genital warts are caused by sexual contact and can occur in a pointed or smooth, 2-3 mm, blister-like shape. They can be treated with laser therapy or topical immune therapy.
Warts can cause discomfort when walking or handling objects and can be transmitted through contact with others. Therefore, it is important to seek treatment early to increase the chances of complete recovery and reduce the chances of recurrence.
Dr. Lee Eun-ha, a dermatologist at Sanggye Paik Hospital, says, “Warts can be transmitted through contact, so if you have a wart, be careful not to touch or pick at it, and it is important to seek treatment from a dermatologist as soon as possible.” She recommends using hand sanitizer before direct contact with others when dealing with hand warts and avoiding sharing shoes with others or wearing the same socks that have been previously worn.