What’s the Difference Between a Wart and a Corn?
Warts are small growths on your skin. They may appear anywhere from white to pinkish in color. There are many types of warts including: ringworm, hirsutism, erythema multiforme (reddening), pruritus, lichen planus (rusting), pinworms, acne vulgaris, psoriasis and others.
Corn is a common name given to several species of flowering plants. These include the sweetcorn, kern, acorn and other varieties. They all have similar appearance with some having yellow flowers while others have red or purple ones.
The term “warty” comes from the Latin word “verrucio”, which means wrinkle or wrinkled skin. However, it was originally used to refer to a type of fungus that grows on human skin called dermatophytes. Today, it refers to any growth of fungi on the skin.
A wart is a raised bump or sore on the surface of the body caused by a virus, bacteria or parasitic infection. A wart usually appears within two weeks after contact with an infected person. Warts are not contagious; they do not spread disease.
Warts grow slowly over time and can affect most parts of the body including the face, hands, feet and genitals. They are small but can be unsightly.
A corn is a type of fibrous growth on the skin. A corn often appears as a hard and thick skin growth with a narrow base. They are typically dark in color, ranging between black, blue, purple and yellow. While they may vary in size from a pinhead to more than an inch in diameter, most corns are the size of a grain of rice.
A corn usually develops as a result of friction, pressure or rubbing on the skin. They can be itchy but not painful. The causes of corns are typically divided into two groups: primary and secondary.
In the first group, you have genetic factors, hormonal imbalance or underlying skin conditions like dermatitis or eczema. In the second group, you have external causes like ill-fitting socks or shoes, environmental factors or even tight clothing that rubs against your skin.
A corn is different from a callus in that it is much harder and more compact. It also does not blanch (turn white) when pressure is applied to it.
Most warts and corns can be easily treated at home. However, you should see your doctor if they do not respond to over-the-counter products or if they are in an area that is difficult to reach.
Knowledge is power!
Warts and corns can be a major pain, literally. Warts are usually nothing to worry about. They are relatively harmless, can easily spread and are incredibly common. They do not require medical treatment since they will usually go away on their own after one to two years.
However, warts can be unsightly and embarrassing so many choose to treat them using over-the-counter products or at-home remedies. These can be very effective but you might need to try a few different products or procedures before you find one that works for you.
Corns are more serious because they can lead to pain and permanent damage to the skin if they are not treated right away. Unlike warts, corns are not caused by a virus or infection; they are caused by external agents like pressure, friction or heat. While they are not life-threatening, they can be incredibly painful and even restrict mobility if severe enough. If you have a corn, it is best to consult a doctor for proper treatment.
Common myths about warts and corns!
Here are some common myths about warts and corns that you may have heard before:
Myth: You can catch warts from using the same tools, towels or washcloths as someone who has them.
Fact: Most of the time, you can’t. Warts are caused by a virus that is spread from person to person. However, most viruses need a suitable “host” to which they can attach themselves and infect. Using the same towels or other everyday tools as someone who has a wart will not expose you to the virus because these items do not contain the proteins that the virus attaches itself to.
In fact, you are more likely to catch a wart from walking barefoot in the garden or swimming than using the same clothes as someone who has them because your feet are in direct contact with the grass or water that contains the virus.
Myth: You should never cut off a wart because it will make it spread everywhere.
Fact: This is not true. Cutting off a wart does not make it spread; the virus is already in your system, therefore cutting it off does not make it go anywhere. It will also not grow back thicker or more numerous. However, there are certain treatments you can use to remove warts that are recommended over cutting or burning them off because they can be less painful and have fewer side effects.
Myth: You can avoid warts by rubbing dirt, acid or various other home remedies on them.
Fact: Your immune system can fight off a wart without any help from outside sources. Warts are caused by a virus and, as with most illnesses, your body’s immune system is the best defense against them. Applying various home remedies may give you a temporary relief from the pain or disguise the wart with an unsightly black spot but it will not get rid of the wart over time. In fact, home remedies can make the wart harder to treat and more annoying to deal with because of the damage they cause.
Other myths about warts and corns:
Myth: You can prevent getting warts by wearing gloves or socks everywhere you go.
Fact: Warts are caused by a virus which typically spreads from skin-to-skin contact. You can prevent infection by practicing good hygiene and washing your hands frequently. You should also avoid walking barefoot in public places and make sure any piercings or tattoos are done by a reputable professional who follows strict sanitary procedures.
Myth: You can catch warts from the toilet seat.
Fact: Viruses can live outside the body for only a short period of time so the possibility of getting a wart or other illness from the toilet seat is very unlikely. Warts are spread through direct contact with an infected person.
Myth: You can catch warts from a pet.
Fact: Several pets can get warts. While some people believe that this makes them contagious and able to spread warts to their owners, this is not the case. Most people acquire warts from other people, not their pets. Even those few pets that do have warts are not contagious to their owners or other people.
Myth: Some people are immune to warts.
Fact: While some people never seem to get warts, this is only because their body’s immune system fights off the virus before it can take hold. Everyone is equally susceptible to acquiring them as a wart virus can affect anyone at any age.
Other names for warts:
Common wart, filiform wart, garden wart, verucca, periungual wart, cutaneous horn, kuru-kuru, acrochordon, pomade tubercule, protuberanzen
Other types of warts:
Flat warts, digitate warts, stubborn warts, smegular warts, soft fibromas, fibro papillomas, epithelium nevus, lymphocutaneous papilloma, epithelioma cephalicum
Sources & references used in this article:
Unmalted cereal products for beer brewing. Part I. The use of high percentages of extruded or regular corn starch and sorghum by JA Delcour, MME Hennebert… – … of the Institute of …, 1989 – Wiley Online Library
Fermentable carbohydrates determination in different worts by HPLC-RI by Z Hodžić, B Banjanin… – Journal of …, 2008 – pdfs.semanticscholar.org
Topical treatments for cutaneous warts by CS Kwok, S Gibbs, C Bennett… – … Database of …, 2012 – cochranelibrary.com
Interpreting negative results from an underpowered clinical trial: warts and all by J Van Cleave, AR Kemper… – … of pediatrics & adolescent …, 2006 – jamanetwork.com
Brewing with malted barley or raw barley: what makes the difference in the processes? by YJ Kok, L Ye, J Muller, DSW Ow, X Bi – Applied microbiology and …, 2019 – Springer
British Association of Dermatologists’ guidelines for the management of cutaneous warts 2014 by JC Sterling, S Gibbs, SS Haque Hussain… – British Journal of …, 2014 – Wiley Online Library
Cryosurgery for warts by D Buckley – Cryosurgery, 2015 – Springer
Warts: Diagnosis and treatment by BB Sanders, GS Stretcher – JAMA, 1976 – jamanetwork.com