HPV and common warts

HPV and common warts

General infections of HPV (not resulting in genital warts) are infections in the top layer of skin, normally spread through a tiny scratch.

Warts are contracted from someone else who has warts. Most people will have at least one infection of a common wart at some point in their lives.

Warts explained

Types of warts caused by non-sexually transmitted HPV strains

Non-sexually transmitted strains of HPV cause various types of warts, these include:

  • Flat warts 
  • Common warts 
  • Plantar warts 

What do HPV warts look like?

  • Flat warts are slightly raised bumps that are flat at the top and darker than the skin. These are common in children and tend to appear on their faces, particularly the forehead. In men they  may form where facial hair develops and in women on their legs.
  • Common warts appear as raised and rough bumps on the hands, elbows or fingers. These types of warts are often painful and unsightly. They are also susceptible to bleeding and injury. These are highly contagious and can be spread through just touching the wart.
  • Plantar warts which are hard, grainy growths that normally appear on the balls of feet and heels, they can cause some discomfort.

Types of HPV warts
From left to right: Flat warts, common warts, plantar warts

How are HPV warts spread?

The spread of HPV-related warts is the result of the rapid growth of cells in the outer layer of skin. If a common wart, otherwise known as a skin wart, develops, it is indicative that one has come into contact with the virus. It is important to note that it may even take months for the wart to develop after exposure. Skin warts may develop after shaking hands with someone who has a wart or various warts on their hands. It is also possible to contract the virus through touching inanimate objects such as towels, razors and even shower floors that have been used by someone who has a wart.

The general HPV virus is most often contracted when the virus or wart comes into contact with skin that is cut or damaged. This is one of the reasons why men may develop facial warts as these may be spread as a result of nicks during shaving. Likewise, women may also develop them on their legs as a result of shaving.


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