By Dr. Mercola
Warts are a common growth on the skin, and are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). There are over 100 different types of HPV which infect the skin. Most masses can be located on your genitals, in your mouth, or commonly on your hands and feet.
Some types of HPV are associated with cancerous growths and all are contagious. However, it is not uncommon for just one family member to have them and on just one area of the body, such as the hands.
Warts appear when the HPV virus infects the top layer of the skin, often in an area where the skin has been broken. Common warts are often skin colored and feel rough to the touch, but can have small black dots in the center. Other types of warts may appear flat and smooth, or be large and disfiguring.
5 Risks for Getting Warts
Children and teens are at higher risk of having warts, especially common warts, plantar warts, and flat warts. The human papillomavirus is more easily contracted when there is a break in the skin, which might explain why children and teens are at greater risk.1
People who bite their nails or pull at hangnails also have a higher risk of contracting warts on their hands and spreading those warts to their mouth or other areas of the skin.2
People who bite their nails often have multiple periungual warts over several different nails. Periungual warts are located in the base of the nailbed. They will often raise the nail, cause abnormal growth of the nail, and be a source of pain, disfigurement, and embarrassment.
Men and women who shave their pubic hair are at risk for HPV infection-causing warts.3 French researchers examined individuals who were at a private skin clinic in Nice, France.