What is a wart?

A wart is a benign (non-cancerous) growth on the skin or mucous membranes, caused by infection with a virus called the Human Papillomavirus (HPV).

The HPV virus gains access to the epidermis (outermost layer of skin) through small scratches in your skin. Once there, the virus makes cells in your epidermis grow to form a mass of new cells. This new mass of cells is called a wart.

Some warts can be located on the skin itself (e.g. common warts, plantar warts, or flat warts), while others form on mucous membranes (e.g. genital warts).