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Flat Warts

2010 Editors ChoiceWhat you need to know

In medical terms, flat warts are known as Verruca plana, or by their other common names – juvenile or plane warts. As flat warts can appear on exposed areas of the human body, they can be the cause of embarrassment to those who suffer from this virus-caused, ailment, apart from the physical discomfort also caused. The areas where flat warts can occur are the arms, face, neck and legs, and in some cases, the skin around the beard area of men (not to be confused with oral warts). Thanks to the many years spent by medical researchers and scientists, there are several topical, creams, solutions and formulations that have been developed and used successfully in flat warts treatment with the aim of complete flat wart removal. Moreover, for more advanced stages of such warts, modern curettage or cauterization, as well as the latest surgical and laser treatment is available today.


In the initial stages, flat warts may appear as flesh or tan-colored lumps which are tiny, (pinhead) in size, slightly protruding from the skin surface but overall flat in nature. However, as they progress in growth, they can become clusters of approximately twenty to hundred warts.

The causes

As in most types of warts, flat warts are caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), specifically its strains 3, 10 and 28. Flat warts, like other warts including seed warts and hand warts, are often transmitted by direct or indirect, person to person, skin or other contact. Generally, cuts, abrasions, cracks or other skin eruptions can lead to a person contracting flat warts. Therefore, it is advised that non-sufferers avoid the sharing of towels, or other objects belonging to a person that is afflicted with flat warts.

Risk factors

If flat warts treatment is sought in time, there is significantly less chances of flat warts progressing to either tumors or cancers and the more serious stage of malignancy. The problem however, is that most people suffering with flat warts, do not experience pain or any symptoms that could compel them to seek medical intervention at an early stage. As usually the case, people seek medical treatment when pain, burning or bleeding occurs, by which time the flat warts may have progressed to the ‘clusters’ stage as well as in their size and number. This is precisely why people suffering from flat warts must seek medical help as soon as the little bumps are seen. It must also be noted that certain flat wart removal techniques can lead to scarring of the area where flat warts occur. Moreover, inept flat warts treatment by unqualified medical practitioners could also cause Keloid formation. Professional doctors can guarantee flat wart removal but not wart recurrence. This is because of the highly contagious HPV virus that causes them.


Over-the-counter, products such as silver nitrate, salicylic acid and other topical creams are available and can be applied at home by people suffering from flat warts. These medications can help to burn the dead skin within and around the wart and allow it to fall off. Laser treatment or surgery is, of course, recommended for flat warts that are larger in size and number. Flat warts are indeed, treatable and to an extent, avoidable if the correct precautions are taken.


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