Flat warts are a type of soft, harmless, benign skin growths that usually appear in clusters on areas of the body such as face, neck, hands, feet and arms. Also known as ‘verruca plana’ or ‘juvenile wart’, these lesions can look like tiny flat-topped papules, with a few strands extending from the surface. Flat warts generally less than 3 mm in size, can occur in various shapes and sizes, with a color varying from light yellow to brown, and extends for many millimeters in an oddly patterned approach. Being one of the most common types of wart, these skin lesions occur in both sexes, in all age groups and regardless of race.
The cause of flat warts is attributed to the human papillomavirus (HPV), a large family of viruses which cause different types of noncancerous (benign) tumors of the skin and mucous membranes. Flat warts are more likely to occur when there is skin trauma, damaged immune system, or poor prognosis. The virus which causes the appearance of flat warts are highly contagious and can spread easily even with minor contact with any part of the body. A single flat wart can also reproduce multiple times at the same place, forming a small cluster due to its transferable nature.
When flat warts occur they may be asymptomatic initially. As the condition progresses, some may experience mild to moderate itching, and in some cases discomfort when touched. There may also be some redness surrounding the lesion. While annoying, the condition does not normally require treatment, and the warts resolve by themselves. Nevertheless, if one opts for treatment, options include oil and chemical treatments such as topical acids, cryotherapy and laser therapy.
Despite many benefits, one must take extreme precautions in finding resolution to the problem. Self medications and home remedies could worsen the situation and may cause permanent damage to the surrounding skin. For this reason it is important to consult with a certified physician for diagnosis, treatment, and advice.