The Most Common Types of Warts and How to Get Rid of Them

There are well over a hundred types of HPV (human papilloma viruses) which cause warts – a viral skin disease that can, in some cases, be a sexually transmitted infection. Types 6 and 11 cause gential warts, while 1 and 3 cause the common wart. While HPV treatment is available and tends to be effective in wart removal, there’s no cure for HPV and your immune system will tend to clear it away by itself. Here’s a quick look at the six most common types of warts.

Flat Warts

A flat wart can spread in numerous clusters on the face and body but tend to remain small in size – around the size of a pinhead. They are common in children on the face and can itch or hurt. Flat warts generally are similar to the rest of the skin in colour. They can be passed from one person to another by skin contact, by sharing towels and other items that come into contact with the skin, or to other areas of your body by shaving or scratch. They are usually harmless and go away on their own in time.

Common Warts

Common warts are raised on the skin and tend to be tough to the touch. They are larger than flat warts but are also skin coloured, and like other warts, tend to be harmless, though treatment is advised for those who feel self-conscious about these growths that can occur on the hand or other parts of the body.

Plantar Warts

These small lesions grow on the plantar surfaces on your body – the soles of the feet.

Usually they have a skin-coloured or light brown appearance with a single or a few small black dots at the centre. The dots are clotted blood vessels. Plantar warts tend to spread on moist surfaces such as swimming pools and gyms where people walk bare footed. If you have been in contact with the HPV virus that causes plantar warts, then you tend to build up immunity over time – more children than adults have plantar warts. Because they can be mildly painful, people often opt for removal, either through home administered treatment like salicylic acid, or treatment by doctors such as cryosurgery (cold burning) and surgical excision.

Mosaic Warts

Mosaic Warts are clusters of plantar warts on the hands and feet that grow in mosaic clusters that can be difficult to remove. As they represent a serious spread of the virus, mosaic warts will required persistent application of salicylic acid products or more serious treatment by your doctor for removal.

Filiform Warts

These thread-shaped warts are found on the lips, neck, and the eyelids. They tend to be painless but can itch or bleed when severe. Advice should be obtained before self-administered treatment since any substances you use can come into contact with the eyes or cause scarring on your face.

Genital Warts

These are sexually transmitted warts that can occur in both men and women. Genital warts are one of the most common sexually transmitted infections in the world. The wart grows in a bloom-like cluster on and around the genital area, which can cause embarrassment for infected people in intimate situations. They can be flesh-coloured or grey. Condoms will not provide absolute protection as this wart can be spread by skin-to-skin contact.