Warts and Molluscum


Warts are benign skin growths that are caused by the human papillomavirus. Often, the virus enters the body through cuts, scrapes or other damaged areas on the skin. Warts can spread to other parts of the body and are contagious through person-to-person contact and even contact with infected objects, such as towels. Common warts usually grow on your fingers and toes but can appear anywhere.

Molluscum Contagiosum (water warts) are small wart-like growths that are also caused by a viral infection. Like warts, they are round, firm and usually painless, and they are spread by person-to-person contact and contact with infected objects. Water warts sometimes have a depression in the middle and often grow in clusters.

Both types of warts can be skin colored, white or pink. They are more common in children than adults, since adults generally develop an immunity to the wart-causing virus. However, adults with compromised immune systems are more likely to develop these growths.


  • Avoid picking or scratching warts, actions that can spread them to others.
  • Always wear shoes in public areas, such as locker rooms.
  • Do not touch another person’s wart. If you do, wash your hands immediately.
  • Do not share towels.

Other Common Types of Warts

  • Periungual warts, which tend to grow under and around fingernails and toenails. A black dot, which is actually dried blood, may appear in the middle.
  • Plantar warts, which grow on the bottom of the feet and can be quite painful. They develop in clusters and may not be raised significantly because they tend to flatten as you walk. Sometimes plantar warts have black dots in the middle.
  • Flat warts, tiny bumps with flat and smooth tops that grow in large clusters. Usually, they are skin-colored or yellow-brown and grow on the face, though they can grow on the extremities.
  • Filiform warts, long thread-like growths that tend to develop around the eyes or lips.

Wart Diagnosis

Pensacola Dermatology can perform a skin exam to diagnose warts. A quick scraping or a biopsy may be needed to verify that the growth is not another skin condition.

Wart Treatment

Wart treatment depends on a number of factors, including type and location. Often, water warts go away without treatment, but removal options for other types of warts include the following:

  • Cryosurgery, which involves using liquid nitrogen to remove the wart.
  • Excision, procedure involves numbing and surgically removing the growth.
  • Laser removal, which destroys the wart with an intense beam of light.
  • Oral immunotherapy, which uses the patient’s own immune system to kill the warts.
  • Topical Treatments – including retinoids, salicylic acid or trichloroacetic acid –that remove warts.
  • Antibiotics, which are prescribed if the wart becomes infected.

If you suspect that you have warts, make an appointment at Pensacola Dermatology.

Warts | American Academy of Dermatology. (2018). Aad.org. Retrieved 21 December 2018, from https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/contagious-skin-diseases/warts

Molluscum contagiosum | American Academy of Dermatology. (2018). Aad.org. Retrieved 21 December 2018, from https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/contagious-skin-diseases/molluscum-contagiosum


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