​Warts


Warts are small grainy skin growths that are rough to touch and often feature a pattern of tiny black dots which are small, clotted blood vessels. They are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) and mostly found on your hands and fingers. Warts are most common in children, young adults and those with a weak immune system. They are highly contagious, usually transmitted from one person to another through direct contact with the warts or with something that has been in contact with the warts. You can also spread warts to the other part of your body if you are not careful.


Warts are distinguished from calluses by their appearance which may be:

  • Small, fleshy grainy bumps which are rough to touch

  • Skin-coloured, white, black or pink

  • Peppered with tiny black dots

Consult one of the highly knowledgeable doctors at the Teeth and Skin Service Line at The Aga Khan University Hospital, if the warts are painful, keep recurring after home remedies or persist for long, change their appearance or causing hindrance in your daily activities. You should also visit a doctor if you have a weakened immune system due to any reason or if you are unsure about the growth being warts.

Your time with your doctor maybe limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here are some tips to help get you started.

Warts are easy to diagnose. Your doctor may simply examine your skin growths and scrap the top layer to look for the tiny, black dots which are common to warts.

Warts usually go away after a certain period of time without any treatment. Proper treatment becomes necessary if your warts get painful, bothersome, are not responding to home remedies or are a cosmetic concern. Your doctor’s aim will be to remove the warts completely, so as to reduce the chance of them coming back.

The treatment method may depend on the location of the warts, your symptoms and personal preference. Your doctor will start with the least painful method, especially in cases that involve children. These include:

  • Salicylic acid which is applied to the warts in the form of liquid, gel or a patch. This works by removing the layers of a wart one at a time until it is fully removed. It is non-painful, yet time-consuming process that may take weeks to show results.

  • Cryotherapy in which the warts are frozen by applying liquid nitrogen to them. A blister forms around the warts. When the blister peels off, the warts are peeled off completely as well. The procedure may be carried out in your doctor’s office. This procedure may be painful and used on children with the help of topical anaesthetic creams.

  • Other acids such as bichloroacetic or trichloroacetic acids may be used in case salicylic acid or freezing fails to work. The acid is applied with a wooden toothpick after the surface of the wart has been shaven of. The procedure can be painful with burning and stinging sensations.

  • Electric cautery, which burns the tiny blood vessels causing the infected tissue to eventually die and the wart to fell off. This procedure is also painful and can cause scarring.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.

The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments’ costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.

Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage



​The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.