Warts are often skin-colored and feel rough, or they can be dark (brown or gray-black), flat and smooth. Warts are benign (not cancerous) skin growths that appear when a virus infects the top layer of the skin. Anyone can get warts. Viruses that cause warts are called human papillomavirus (HPV).

Some people are more prone to getting a wart virus (HPV) than others. You are more likely to get one of these viruses if you cut or damage your skin in some way. Some people are more prone to getting a wart virus (HPV) than others, including people who bite their fingernails and hangnails (more common where the skin is broken), children and teens, people with a weakened immune system (HIV weakens the immune system, so the body often cannot fight the virus that causes the warts). Sometimes warts go away on their own, but if they hurt or spread they should be treated by a dermatologist.

There are three types of warts:

Plantar (foot) wart traits

  • Grow most often on the soles (plantar surface) of the feet, in clusters or flat and inward
  • Can hurt, feels like you have pebbles in your shoe

Flat wart traits

  • Are smaller and smoother than other warts, but tend to grow in large numbers—20 to 100 at a time
  • Can occur anywhere. Children usually get them on the face. Men get these most often in the beard area, and women tend to get them on their legs

Filiform wart traits

  • Looks like long threads or thin fingers that stick out
  • Often grows on the face: around the mouth, eyes, and nose, and grow quickly

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