Warts are usually acquired from person-to-person contact. The virus is not highly contagious but can cause an infection by entering through a small break in the skin. In the same way, warts can be spread to other places on your own body. The virus is rarely transferred by touching an object used by an infected person.
- Face, especially in children
- Legs, especially in women
- Beard area, especially in men
- Backs of hands
Infection with flat warts can be described as:
- Mild – one or a few painless warts
- Moderate – 10–100 lesions, which are painless
- Severe – more than 100 lesions, which cause enough pain to limit normal life activities
- Over-the-counter wart removers have a high percentage of salicylic acid and work by dissolving away the layer of skin infected with the virus. This needs to be used daily and can sometimes be irritating if it touches unaffected skin around it.
- Duct tape applied daily to the affected area seems to work for unknown reasons. The tape should be very sticky and kept on for a few days.
- Over-the-counter freezing medications are available but have not been found to be very effective.
- Coupled with the above therapies, the wart should be soaked in warm water, and any loose skin should be removed every few days with a mild abrasive, like a pumice stone.
- Family members should avoid sharing personal items such as towels.
- Painful or bleeding warts
- Warts on the face
- Rapidly spreading or multiplying warts
- Warts that interfere with daily life and are not responsive to self-care
- Freezing with liquid nitrogen (cryosurgery)
- Burning with an electric needle (electrocautery)
- Using a laser to disrupt the blood supply of the warts
- Application of cantharidin, podophyllin, tretinoin, or salicylic acid
- Injection with bleomycin, a chemotherapy drug, directly into the warts
- Application of imiquimod, a cream that induces your immune system to destroy the wart