Warts: Types, Causes & Treatment

There are a variety of skin conditions that kids can develop during childhood, including warts. While you may be surprised to see a wart develop on your child’s skin, these growths can occur at any age. Warts usually don’t need to be removed unless they are painful or interfere with daily activities. Keep reading to learn more about the types, causes, and treatment of warts.

What are Warts?

Warts are small growths on the skin caused by an infection of the human papillomavirus (HPV). While they are not harmful, they are highly contagious and can spread very easily. They most often occur on the hands, feet, and fingers.


Types of warts include:

  • Common Warts: Common warts typically have a rough surface and appear on the fingers, elbows, knees, or face.
  • Plantar Warts: Plantar warts refer to warts that appear on the feet; they can appear in groups and are often painful.
  • Palmar Warts: These warts grow on the palms of the hands and can be painful.
  • Flat Warts: These smooth warts typically appear on the face.
  • Filiform Warts: Filiform warts are long, narrow growths that usually appear on the eyelids, lips, face, or neck.
  • Periungual Warts: This type of wart appears as thickened skin around the nail beds. They can become painful as the skin splits.

Causes of Warts

Warts develop when HPV viruses enter the skin via a cut or a scratch. These viruses can pass from person to person or from physical contact with contaminated objects such as a shower floor or a towel. Risk factors include having a weakened immune system or having frequent contact with other individuals who have warts.

To prevent the spread of warts, consider taking the following steps:

  • Practicing proper hygiene, such as frequent handwashing
  • Encouraging your child to wear sandals in locker rooms and shared showers
  • Avoiding the sharing of towels
  • Giving your child the HPV vaccine

Treatment of Warts

If your child has a wart, you may choose to leave it alone and see if it will eventually go away on its own, or you may choose to treat it. Sometimes, the treatment of a wart will require a combination of a few different methods. Treatment options include:

  • Freezing (cryotherapy)
  • Burning (electrocautery)
  • Surgical removal
  • Laser removal
  • Topical creams or injections

At-home treatment of warts includes the use of salicylic acid or a method involving soaking the wart in water and filing it down with an emery board or pumice stone.

Keep in mind that home remedies can take longer than removal at your doctor’s office, and no matter what method you use, warts can come back.

Always consult your child’s doctor before treating any wart on your child’s face or genitals, or if the wart and the skin around it is bleeding, painful, irritated, or looks infected.

If your child needs treatment for warts or another skin condition, please give us a call to schedule a visit with one of our friendly, board-certified pediatricians.