What does a papilloma look like?

If such a growth appears on a person’s skin, then it raises the question of what changes have occurred in the body and are they not dangerous? Read on for helpful information on the characteristics of different types of papillomas. This information will help you recognize the presence of such formations so that you can treat them in a timely manner if necessary.

Types of papillomas

Why do these processes often appear on the skin with age? These skin changes are caused by the human papilloma virus, or HPV for short. After infection with such a pathogen, the patient develops papillomatous disease, during which warts of various shapes appear on the skin or mucous membranes. These growths are benign, but some types of papillomas have a high risk of rebirth as a malignant tumor. For this reason, be sure to see a doctor if you notice such changes in your skin!

Medicine knows more than 40 types of papilloma virus that cause various forms of the disease in humans. The type of virus that has entered the body depends on what the papilloma looks like, as the infection is externally manifested by different types of formations on the body cover. According to the general classification, the following types of growths are distinguished.

  1. Simple, also called vulgar - keratinized growths of dark color.
  2. Plantar - affects the soles.
  3. Accords are threads of similar formation, whose body rests on the leg.
  4. Flat formations or ordinary warts - often occur in adolescents in the area of hands, fingers, face.
  5. Spiky - localized on the mucosa of the oral cavity, genitals or anus.
  6. Squamous cells - consist of squamous epithelium, which has grown due to the action of the virus, and the stroma (the basis of connective tissue and blood vessels).
  7. Basal cells - grow from the cells of the basal layer of the epidermis or from the hair follicles.
  8. Internal - do not occur in the area of the external visible parts of the body, but where they are difficult to notice, for example, in the larynx or bladder.
papillomas on the fingers


Such growths are often called warts. Their characteristic features are small size and special shape: wide base and sharp tip. These warts are flesh-colored or slightly pink in color and appear singly or in groups. They are characterized by rapid growth: in just a few days, where there was only one growth, a whole group of them is formed. In shape, this family resembles a cauliflower flower. Genital warts are often found on the mucous membranes: in the mouth, on the tongue, as well as in the genital area or near the anus.


This form of skin growth caused by the HPV virus is one of the most common because it can have a very wide localization throughout the body. What does a papilloma of this type look like? These are flat formations of round or oval shape, slightly protruding above the surface of the skin - no more than 1 mm, they can be soft and with signs of keratinization. They often appear in groups, they are practically indistinguishable in color from the surrounding cover.

Such growths occur mainly in the upper body: on the face (for example, on the nose or lips), neck. They often appear on the mucous membranes: inside the mouth on the cheeks or tongue. Squamous cell tumors can be diagnosed in the esophagus, larynx, as well as in the organs of the genitourinary system, and even in the rectum. People who have such formations are advised to remove them due to the high risk of degeneration into a malignant form.

Basal cell

These growths are often called basal cell carcinomas or senile warts because they often affect the skin of older people. These formations grow slowly from the basal layer of the epidermis (hence the name) or from the hair follicles, appearing on the surface of the skin in the form of papillae from pink to dark brown. Areas of the body where basal cell carcinomas are common are the armpits, back, lips and nose. Their characteristic feature is that they never degenerate into cancerous tumors, so they are considered safe.

basal cell papillomas on the back

How papillomas look in intimate places

When it comes to formations in the genital area, it means pointed formations. Papillomas of this type are overgrown cells of the upper layer of the epithelium, which look like groups of small papillae. Such growths can affect both sexes equally often. They are localized in the groin and directly on the surface of the genitals: in men - on the head of the penis or in the lumen of the urethra, in women - on the vaginal mucosa, the surface of the cervix and in the uterus itself.

Manifestations of changes in the skin of the genital organs, which occur as a result of human infection with the HPV virus, require special attention of the patient. It is necessary to consult a doctor and remove growths on the genitals, because with the transition of such a disease to a chronic form, the risk of infertility and oncology is greatly increased.

Photo: how papillomas look on the body

In order to imagine exactly and clearly what these formations are, it will be useful for you to look at pictures of what such growths look like. Take a look at this selection of photos showing examples of different types of papillomas. Use these photos to check the growths that you or your loved ones have and you can determine in advance whether these warts are subject to mandatory removal and prevent serious risks to your health.

papilloma under the armpapilloma of the neck