Understanding Common Warts -- the Basics

Medically Reviewed by Debra Jaliman, MD on May 17, 2021

What Are Common Warts?

After acne, warts are the most common dermatological complaint. Three out of four people will develop a wart (verruca vulgaris) at some time in their lives.

Warts are slightly contagious, and you can spread them to other parts of your body by touching them or shaving around infected areas.

Children and young adults are more prone to getting warts because their defense mechanisms may not be fully developed, but it is possible to get a wart at any age.

What Causes Warts?

Warts are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV), which enters the skin and causes cells to multiply rapidly.

Usually, warts spread through direct contact. Each person responds differently, and not everyone exposed to HPV will develop a wart.


Picture of Warts

Show Sources


The Mayo Clinic: "Common Warts."

American Academy of Dermatology: "Warts."

KidsHealth: "What's Up With Warts."

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