Warts are noncancerous skin growths caused by the human papillomavirus. Warts are more common in children than adults, although they can develop at any age. Warts can spread to other parts of the body and to other people. There are many different types of warts, due to many different papillomavirus types (more than 100). Warts aren't painful, except when located on the feet. Most warts go away, without treatment, over an extended period of time.
The following are the more common types of warts:
Common warts. Growths around nails and the back of hands. These usually have a rough surface and are grayish-yellow or brown in color.
Hand and foot warts. Located on the soles of feet (plantar warts) or the palms of the hand (palmar warts) with black dots (clotted blood vessels that once fed them). These clusters of plantar warts are called mosaic. These warts may be painful.
Flat warts. Small, smooth growths that grow in groups up to 100 at a time. Most often appear on children's faces.
Genital warts. These warts grow on the genitals. They are occasionally sexually transmitted. Unlike other common warts, they are soft and don't have a rough surface.
Filiform warts. Small, long, narrow growths that usually appear on eyelids, face, or neck.
Specific treatment for warts will be decided by your child's health care provider based on:
Your child's age, overall health, and medical history
Extent of the growths
Your child's tolerance for specific medicines, procedures, or therapies
Expectations for the course of the growths
Your opinion or preference
Warts in children often disappear without treatment. Treatment of warts depends on several factors, including:
Length of time on the skin
Treatment may include:
Application of salicylic and lactic acid (to soften the infected area). It is available over-the-counter.
Freezing with liquid nitrogen
Electrodesiccation (using an electrical current to destroy the wart)
Cantharadin by itself or in combination with salicylic acid and podophylin
Intralesional injection of candida
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