Besides acne, warts are the next most common skin related complaint. In fact, three out of four people will develop warts at some point in their life. Warts are contagious and they can spread to other parts of the body by simply touching the wart or by shaving around the infected area of the body.
In general, a wart is a hard, rough growth on the surface of the skin. Warts will vary in size and shape and can appear anywhere on the body. They are a result of an infection by certain viruses called papillomaviruses. The viruses live in cells on the surface layer of the skin and do not infect the underlying tissue. The thickened surface layer forms folds into which little blood vessels grow spontaneously, and if a wart is scratched open, the virus may spread by contact to another part of the body or to another person. There are a few different types of warts, and they are as follows:
Common warts (verruca vulgaris) are typically a small, raised, rough lump on the skin made up of small columns of tissue arising from the base. Common warts vary in color from normal flesh tone to dark brown-black. They usually appear on the hands, elbows, knees, and less frequently on the face or eyelids. They may also appear around the edges of the nails.
Flat warts are very common in children as well as men. Women are not as prone as kids and adult men but they too can develop flat warts. An otherwise harmless condition, flat warts are certainly not desirable because they can change one’s appearance if the warts develop on the face. Flat warts are the least troublesome of all the conditions in the wart family and they may often subside by themselves.
Plantar warts (verrucae plantares) are the same as the common wart but are flattened by pressure because they appear on pressure bearing areas. They may be painful because the nodule presses into the flesh. Plantar warts can be very painful and are often found on the sole of the foot.