What Different Types of Warts Look Like

Warts are benign or noncancerous fleshy growths on the skin. They're caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). Warts can appear on any part of the body.

They are most common in children and young adults. Most warts, with the exception of certain ones that develop on the bottom of the feet, are painless.

This photo contains content that some people may find graphic or disturbing.

Wart on the bottom of a person's foot being treated by a medical specialist
damiangretka / Getty Images 

All warts are highly contagious. They can easily spread from one part of the body to another and from one person to another. This can occur even through casual contact such as a handshake.

They often go away on their own but can be treated with topical medications. They can also be removed with noninvasive procedures.

Warts are easy to identify just by looking at them. Although they're benign, in very rare cases warts have been known to develop into a very slow-growing cancer called verrucous carcinoma. If you have a wart that bothers you or doesn't go away, have your doctor take a look at it.

This article covers the various types of warts and what they look like.

Common Wart

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An adult holds the hand of a child with a macro wart

tomczykbartek / Getty Images

Common warts are raised. They also have rough, pebble-textured surfaces.

Warts can appear anywhere on the body. But they are most common on the backs of the hands and on fingers near the nails. Common warts often grow in areas where the skin has been broken.

Sometimes common warts are called "seed" warts because they are sprinkled with black dots that look like seeds. These actually are tiny blood clots.

Flat Wart

Smaller and smoother than other warts, flat warts are slightly raised. They're the color of skin or brownish-yellow in color. These types of warts appear in clusters of a few dozen to a hundred.

Women tend to get flat warts on their legs. Men get them in the beard area. Children get them on the face. Although they aren't painful, flat warts can be difficult to treat.

Plantar Wart

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verruca on the finger wart freeze concept

Roman Didkivskyi / Getty Images 

Plantar warts get their name because they appear on the soles of the feet. They have a rough texture that causes them to resemble calluses or corns rather than warts.

Of all warts, plantar warts are the one type that can be painful. They're often tender and can cause discomfort when standing or walking. Multiple plantar warts that grow in clusters are called mosaic warts. They can be difficult to treat.

This type of wart also can develop on the palms of the hands. When this occurs, they're called palmar warts.

Genital Wart on the Vagina

Genital warts in women most commonly develop on the labia and near the opening of the vagina. Pink, soft, and slightly raised, genital warts can vary in size and develop as clusters.

Symptoms of genital warts in women may include:

  • Burning
  • Itching
  • Tenderness around the vagina

They are spread by sexual contact. Genital warts are not caused by the same strain of HPV that causes common warts.

Genital warts, also known as condylomata acuminata, are among the most common sexually transmitted infections (STI). They affect more than 500,000 people each year in the United States.

Genital Wart on the Penis

Genital warts in men develop most often on:

  • The tip of the shaft of the penis
  • The scrotum
  • The anus

They tend to be softer than other warts and resemble skin tags.

Genital warts can also develop in the mouth or throat of a person who has had oral sexual contact with an infected person. Symptoms of genital warts in men include itching or discomfort.

Filiform Wart

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removing skin wart

helovi / Getty Images 

Filiform warts look unusual. They are long, narrow columns of flesh that stick out of the skin. Filiform warts most often appear on the face, especially around the eyes, nose, and lips. They do not appear in clusters.

Despite their appearance, filiform warts are harmless. These kinds of warts usually disappear without treatment.

Periungual Wart

Periungual warts develop around fingernails and toenails. They are accompanied by peeling and roughening of the surface.

Periungual warts can affect the shape of a fingernail by pushing it up or causing partial detachment. When this happens, they can cause pain and interfere with normal nail growth.

Summary

Warts are noncancerous fleshy growths on the skin. They're caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). Warts can appear on any part of the body. There are different types of warts that can grow on your skin.

Warts are extremely contagious. You can pass warts on to other people through skin-to-skin contact. In extremely rare cases, some warts can develop into a slow-growing cancer called verrucous carcinoma. It's important to see your doctor if you have a wart that bothers you or doesn't go away.

A Word From Verywell

Warts on your skin can be embarrassing. Sometimes they can even be uncomfortable, causing itching, burning, or tenderness. If you have warts on your skin that are painful or cause discomfort, contact your doctor. They can provide the right treatment to improve the health and appearance of your skin.

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6 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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