Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Warts Anatomy

To better understand warts, it helps to understand the anatomy of the skin.

The skin contains three main layers:

  • Epidermis:
    • The superficial layer that makes up the surface of the skin
    • It is composed of skin cells and can be divided into 5 layers based on cell type.
    • The top layer of the epidermis, the stratum corneum, is made of dead, flat skin cells that shed about every 2 weeks.
    • The thickness of the epidermis varies, according to location: it is very thick over the soles of the feet, and very thin over the ears.
  • Dermis:
    • Lies beneath the epidermis
    • Also varies in thickness depending on the location of the skin. It is .3 mm on the eyelid and 3.0 mm on the back.
    • The dermis is composed of 2 layers that contain a connective tissue called collagen
    • The dermis contains blood vessels, nerves, sweat glands, and hair follicles.
    • The number of structures in the dermis varies, according to location.
    • The dermis under the arms contains more sweat glands and hair follicles than the dermis on the back.
  • Subcutaneous layer:
    • Mainly fat and connective tissue.
    • Contains blood vessels and nerves.

Last Updated: Jan 7, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Warts References
  1. Agius E, Mooney JM, Bezzina AC, Yu RC. Dermojet delivery of bleomycin for the treatment of recalcitrant plantar warts. J Dermatolog Treat. 2006;17(2):112-6. [16766336]
  2. Bacelieri R, Johnson SM. Cutaneous warts: an evidence-based approach to therapy. Am Fam Physician. 2005 Aug 15;72(4):647-52. [16127954]
  3. Focht DR 3rd, Spicer C, Fairchok MP. The efficacy of duct tape vs cryotherapy in the treatment of verruca vulgaris (the common wart). Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2002 Oct;156(10):971-4. [12361440]
  4. Lewis TG, Nydorf ED. Intralesional bleomycin for warts: a review. J Drugs Dermatol. 2006 Jun;5(6):499-504. [16774100]
  5. Mullen BR, Guiliana JV, Nesheiwat F. Cimetidine as a first-line therapy for pedal verruca: eight-year retrospective analysis. J Am Podiatr Med Assoc. 2005 May-Jun;95(3):229-34. [15901808]
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