How do you get warts?

Warts are a viral infection that resides within our skin. They can often be painful and sometimes an embarrassment for people, so it is best to remove them. But how do you get warts? This blog will help you understand the mechanics of warts.

Your Skin

The skin is our largest organ. Our skin is a waterproof coat of armour that shields us from extreme temperatures, sun radiation, and harmful chemicals. The skin secretes antibacterial substances to prevent infection and also manufactures vitamin D to aid in the conversion of calcium into bones. It is an amazingly protective organ.

Skin Layers

This protective organ is made up of 3 layers with the outermost layer being the epidermis. The epidermis is made up of cells called keratinocytes. Those keratinocytes form layers upon layers that constantly grow outwards with the exterior cells drying up and flaking off. It takes about 5 weeks for a new keratinocyte to travel to the uppermost layer and flake off. This covering of dead skin is called the stratum corneum and can be up to 10 times thicker on the sole of the foot as compared to other locations on the body. The epidermis also harbours the Langerhans cells which are responsible for alerting the immune system to viruses or other infectious agents.


The wart is a viral infection that resides between layers of the epidermis, and in many cases, the Langerhans cells do not pick up on this infection. Therefore the immune system is not aware of the virus.

The virus can make its way into the layers of the skin when there is a breach of skin integrity. This can happen when the skin is weak and is wounded or scratched. But more commonly the opportunity of infection occurs when the skin is waterlogged.

Waterlogged Skin

When the skin is waterlogged, it now has “gaps in the armour” and if the skin comes into contact with the wart virus, that virus will lodge itself between the layers of the epidermis. The virus is particularly adept at hiding from the Langerhans cell and over time will grow into an annoying and sometimes painful lesion that is difficult to get rid of.


One of the most effective treatments to remove warts is Swift Microwave Treatment which activates an immune response to attack the viral tissue without any tissue damage (like other treatments sometimes recommended).  The Geelong Wart Clinic is one of the few clinics in Victoria qualified to administer the Swift Microwave Treatment and have helped many patients remove their warts.

If you need to remove a wart, book an appointment with the Geelong Wart Clinic today!