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The Difference Between Flat Warts & Common Warts

Health Articles > Warts > Flat Warts vs Common Warts

Flat warts and common warts have both similarities and differences.

A viral infection causes common warts and flat warts with a highly contagious agent, but they have some notable differences. Common warts are typically raised, rough, and have a bumpy texture. They are usually gray or brown in color and can appear on any part of the body, but they are most common on the hands and fingers. Flat warts, on the other hand, are smaller and smoother than common warts. They are usually flat or slightly raised and have a smooth, uniform surface. Flat warts are most commonly found on the face, neck, and legs.

Both types of warts are contagious, caused by the same contagious agent, and more likely to occur in children and young adults. They differ in appearance.


Flat warts are caused by highly contagious agents, of which there are many strains. The strains numbered 3, 10, 28, and 49 are responsible for flat warts.

The same agent causes common warts but different strains. In this case, the numbers 1, 2, 4, 27, and 29 are the culprits.

Warts are contagious and can be spread with simple skin-to-skin contact (such as from the hands or feet) or contact with a contaminated surface.

Age Group

Here there is a similarity. Flat and common warts are more likely in children and young adults than in older people. Children are generally more susceptible to warts because they have less developed immune systems, so they cannot always fight off the agent that causes warts. In addition, children are more likely to come into contact with wart agents through activities such as sharing toys or participating in sports, which can increase their risk of developing warts. It's also possible for warts to be passed from one person to another, so if a child has come into contact with someone who has warts, they may be more likely to develop them.

Signs and Symptoms

Flat warts are smooth, flat, topped warts the size of a pinhead. They grow in large numbers - 20 to 100 at any time.

Like flat warts, common warts do not usually cause pain or discomfort. Common warts start small and become rough, round, or irregular as they grow to anything from 2 to 10 mm in diameter. They can grow into clusters of common warts resembling a small cauliflower. They are often roughly textured, ranging from light gray to gray/black or yellow to brown.


Flat warts can appear anywhere on the body, but in children, they are most common on the face and with scratch marks. They can occur in their hundreds. Even though they are so small, they can still cause children to become embarrassed and self-conscious about their presence. In adults, they are often found in the beard area in men and on the legs and armpits in women because of irritation and spreading from shaving. Shaving or scratching can spread flat warts through the bloodstream.

Common warts usually grow on the fingers, around the nails, and on the backs of the hands. They are more common where the skin has been broken, for example, where fingernails are bitten or hangnails picked. Other areas are those subjected to trauma, particularly in children, such as when they injure themselves on the elbows, knees, or face.


Flat warts are contagious, as they are caused by the highly contagious agent, which can be spread from person to person through direct contact or by coming into contact with contaminated surfaces, such as towels, socks, or the floor of a public shower or pool. To prevent the spread of flat warts, it's important to avoid sharing towels, socks, or other personal items with others and to avoid coming into contact with other people's warts. It's also essential to keep the affected area clean and dry to prevent the spread of warts. If you are concerned about flat warts or any other skin condition, it's best to talk to a healthcare provider for advice.


In most cases, flat warts are not dangerous. They are small, smooth growths on the skin caused by the highly contagious agent and are usually harmless. However, if you have a weakened immune system, you may be more susceptible to complications from wart infection, such as warts spreading to other parts of your body. It's also essential to monitor flat warts for size, shape, or color changes, as these can be signs of malignant growth. If you are concerned about flat warts or any other skin condition, it's best to talk to a healthcare provider for advice.

Risk Factor

Several factors can increase your risk of developing flat warts, including

  • Having a weakened immune system, such as from HIV/AIDS or certain medications.
  • Having a history of warts.
  • Being a child or teenager, as children and teenagers have a higher risk of developing warts due to their developing immune systems.
  • Being a man - men have a slightly higher risk of developing warts than women.
  • Coming into contact with the highly contagious agent can be spread through direct contact with someone who has warts or by contacting contaminated surfaces, such as towels, socks, or the floor of a public shower or pool.

If you have any of these risk factors, you must talk to a healthcare provider for advice on how to prevent or treat warts.


Flat and common warts can be treated with over-the-counter wart removers or home remedies. Over-the-counter wart removers, such as salicylic acid, can be applied directly to the wart to help break down the contagious agent causing the wart and the surrounding skin. Home remedies, such as duct tape, can be used on the wart and left in place for several days. The tape can help to kill the agent that causes the wart and eventually cause the wart to fall off. In more severe cases, a healthcare provider may recommend other treatments, such as cryotherapy (freezing the wart with liquid nitrogen), laser therapy, or surgery. Talking to a healthcare provider for advice on the best treatment option for you is essential.


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