Skin Growths

Warts are skin growths that cause raised, scaly bumps on your skin. Although the condition is not typically a serious health threat, warts can be ugly, embarrassing and painful, prompting many people to have them removed.

Warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) and transmitted through touch.

Symptoms, Diagnosis and Outlook

There are several types of warts, including:

  • Common warts – flesh-colored bumps with a rough texture and may feature small, black dots from clotted blood vessels. They can occur individually or in groups and tend to grow on your fingers and hands.
  • Flat warts – small pink, brown or yellow bumps with flat tops. They may go unnoticed when they first begin to develop, most often on your face or hands.
  • Plantar warts – grow inward into your skin and may be covered with a thick callous. They grow on the soles of your feet.
  • Venereal or genital warts – small, flesh-colored bumps that may sometimes resemble cauliflower. They grow in your genital area and may lead to cervical cancer in women if left untreated.

Most warts can be identified with a physical examination, which may include scraping the growth’s top layer to check for small, dark dots that indicate clotted blood vessels. In some cases, a biopsy is needed to rule out or confirm cancer.

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Expert Care for Skin Conditions

The team of specialists in Penn State Health’s Department of Dermatology sees more than 40,000 patient visits every year. As one of the highest-ranked clinics for patient satisfaction within Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, the department is also nationally recognized, with many of the physicians listed in the national database of best doctors.

Our medical team is consistently recognized nationally through Best Doctors in America and America’s Top Doctors awards. Our specialists also participate in worldwide conferences and speaking engagements, in countries including India, Korea, Germany, Japan and others.

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