Skin Problems & Treatments Health Home

What Happens

Human papillomaviruses can live on healthy skin without causing infection. But when a human papillomavirus enters the body through small breaks in the skin, it can infect the skin cells beneath the surface, causing a wart to grow.

  • A wart can take many months to grow before it becomes visible.
  • Warts, particularly newer ones, are easily spread. They can spread to other parts of the body or to other people.
  • Plantar warts can be pushed beneath the skin's surface by pressure from standing and walking. A thickening of the skin slowly forms over most of the wart and looks and feels like a callus.
  • Periungual warts can affect nail growth.
  • It may be hard to get rid of warts after they develop. But they generally go away on their own within months or years.
  • Just before warts disappear on their own, they may turn black.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
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