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Common Wart


A common wart

is a thick, rough, skin growth caused by human papillomavirus virus (HPV). HPV is a germ that spreads by skin-to-skin contact or contact with contaminated surfaces. Common warts are benign (not cancer).

Signs and symptoms:

Common warts may form anywhere on your body, but are most common on your hands, fingers, knees, feet, and elbows. You may have any of the following:

  • A raised, round, tan, or skin-colored, growth
  • Black dots in the center of your wart, or bleeding if the wart is scratched or scraped
  • Soreness around your wart

Contact your healthcare provider or dermatologist if:

  • Your wart returns or does not go away after treatment.
  • Your wart grows larger, or begins to spread or cluster.
  • You have a wart on your face, genitals, or rectum.
  • Your wart bleeds, becomes painful, or drains pus.
  • You have questions about your condition or care.


may depend on the size, location, and number of warts you have. Your healthcare provider may freeze, burn, or inject your wart with medicine. You may need surgery if other treatments do not work. Some warts go away on their own without treatment. Some warts return after treatment.

Apply salicylic acid to your wart as directed:

Salicylic acid helps dry and remove the wart. Before you apply salicylic acid, soak the wart in warm water for up to 20 minutes. Keep your wart damp. Apply a small amount of salicylic acid directly to your wart. Do not apply salicylic acid to healthy skin. Cover the wart as directed. It is best to do this at bedtime. When you wake, use a pumice stone (a rough stone) or nail file to gently remove dead skin. Repeat as directed.

Apply duct tape to your wart as directed:

Your healthcare provider may tell you to apply duct tape to your wart. Duct tape helps dry and remove the wart. You may be directed to leave the duct tape on for 6 days. On day 7, take the tape off and soak the wart in warm water for 5 minutes. Gently scrape the wart with a pumice stone or nail file. Then apply a new piece of duct tape and follow the same steps until the wart is gone.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.