Warts are a type of growth in the skin caused by viruses.


Kids get them a lot, because their immune systems are only beginning to adapt to the various virus strains they encounter on the schoolyard. Most often warts appear on the hands or feet, where they’re called ‘palmar’ or ‘plantar’ warts (the ‘planta’ being the sole of your foot in Latin, and the origin of the ‘planter’s warts’ misnomer). Being viral, they go away, in about the time it takes for ancient folk remedies to ‘work’. They’re harmless, unless they involve genitalia. See our page on Genital warts for this.


If you don’t want to wait for your warts to go away, your pharmacy can give you a nightly topical aspirin treatment, that helps them fall off. Your dermatologist can also freeze them off, with liquid nitrogen. It stings, though. Warts are no longer removed surgically, or burned. Those methods scarred (unlike liquid nitrogen), and they could actually scatter viruses and encourage warts to spread.

Questions about your skin? Ask our dermatologists online for $35.