Get the Facts

1. What is a Wart?

Warts on Fingers Common and plantar warts are non-cancerous skin growths caused by a human papillomavirus. Warts are contagious and can spread from person to person or from one body part to another by touch or direct contact. Warts can also be spread indirectly through contact with contaminated surfaces such as wet floors, swimming pool areas, etc. Between 7-10% of the population have warts. Children are more likely to have warts than adults. Infection seems to be more likely to occur if a person’s skin has been previously damaged in some way, such as through a minor cut. However, infection can occur even if the skin is not damaged in any way. It is believed that the immune system may play a role in the development of warts. Warts are particularly common in childhood due to immature immune system resistance and frequent skin-to-skin contact with other children which increases the likelihood of transmission.

Warts on Hands and Feet Warts can be round or irregular in shape, flat or raised from the surface of the skin. Typically, common warts grow around the nails, on the fingers and on the backs of hands, but also can be found on the knees and face (most often where the skin has been previously broken). A common wart can also be recognized by its rough, "cauliflower"-like surface. Plantar warts are found on the bottom of the feet. Plantar warts can also be recognized by their tenderness and by the way they interrupt the normal pattern of the skin on the foot. Due to the pressure normally applied to the bottom of the feet through walking, plantar warts tend to appear flat in structure and are often painful. Most plantar warts are not raised above the surface of the skin. Plantar warts can be confused with calluses.

2. Removing Warts

While most warts will eventually go away, it can take a very long time. During this prolonged time, the virus can spread to other parts of your body or you can spread it to other people. While a wart is nothing you should be overly concerned about from a medical standpoint, you are most likely embarrassed by it and want it to go away fast before anyone sees it.

Medical experts will suggest practical and effective approaches to removing your wart. In the case of children, it may be best to try an over-the-counter product first, since office procedures performed by a doctor may frighten a child. However, compliance is a problem with many of the products available. Compound W®, the #1 pharmacist recommended leading brand of wart removal products is safe and effective to use on children over the age of four.

You can choose from a variety of Compound W® Wart Remover products including Compound W® Fast-Acting Liquid, Compound W® Fast-Acting Gel, Compound W® Waterproof One Step Pads and Compound W® Waterproof One Step Pads for Feet. All of these Compound W® products contain the maximum allowable OTC strength salicylic acid – the ingredient pharmacists recommend for treating common and plantar warts.

Also available is Compound W Freeze Off® Wart Removal System. It allows consumers to easily remove both common and plantar warts at home using a "wart freezing" treatment similar to that used by medical professionals.

Whether it's a wart on your child's hand or a plantar wart on the bottom of your foot, there is a specially designed Compound W® product that can help. With innovative products for adults and children over the age of four, Compound W® has been a trusted name in wart removal for almost 50 years.

3. Tips for Avoiding Warts

While it is impossible to completely avoid contact with human papillomavirus, there are precautions you can take to help lessen the risks of developing warts. Check out our Preventing Warts page and learn how.