Warts are caused by various strains of the human papilloma virus (HPV) and are contagious. Common warts, called verruca vulgaris, affect the trunk, arms, hands, legs, and face. There are over 100 strains of the HPV virus, leading to various forms of warts from common warts to flat warts. Warts affecting the palms or soles of the feet are called verruca palmaris and plantaris. Warts affecting the genitals are called condyloma acuminata.
Warts appear as raised bumps on the body or face, soft or tan skin-tag like lesions in the genital region, or sometimes painful, flat spots on the hands or feet. On average, the body will eliminate a wart within about 3 years without treatment. Many treatment options, however, do exist for the treatment of warts. Daily duct tape application, alone or in combination with topical preparations such as salicylic acid may be helpful for younger patients. Other topical therapies such as retinoids and imiquimod can be used to treat warts. Liquid nitrogen, light and laser therapy, shave excision, and intralesional bleomycin can all be used to destroy skin affected by the wart virus.