Among the many conditions that people may experience on their skin, one of the most common is warts. These are noncancerous, small, grainy skin growths that often appear on the fingers or hands. They have a pattern of tiny black dots, which are actually clotted blood vessels, and are rough to the touch. Common warts are caused by a virus that is transmitted by touch. It may take about two to six months for a wart to develop after the skin has been exposed to the virus.
Warts are mostly harmless and may eventually disappear on their own. However, a lot of people still choose to have them removed as they find them bothersome or embarrassing. There are also times when warts can be painful, especially when they are on foot.
If you are one of those who are suffering from warts on your body and searching for an effective way to remove or reduce them, we are here to help you. In this post, we are giving you a guide to dealing with warts.
What are Warts?
Before we discuss the ways how you can deal with warts, let us first learn about what exactly they are. Warts are solid and hard outgrowth on the skin that has a rough texture. They look similar to a solid blister or a small cauliflower, which can be annoying most of the time.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the culprit behind warts. The virus produces a skin infection that develops warts when it enters a cut in the skin. You need to remember that warts are very contagious. It can spread from one person to another or from different parts of the body through direct contact with a wart, touching something contaminated with the virus, nail-biting, cuticle picking, sexual intercourse (genital warts), and shaving.
This skin condition also varies in appearance. Some warts may look dome-shaped, while some can be flat, rough, skin-colored, brown, gray, or black. Doctors can diagnose warts by simply looking at the bumps. They may also take a sample of the skin growth for biopsy to test it for HPV.
While most warts go away without any problems, there are some warts that may also cause issues. HPV and genital warts are linked to different cancers, but you can lower your risk of acquiring genital warts by getting the HPV vaccine and using condoms. People who have a weakened immune system may also develop unappealing clusters of warts on their hands, faces, and body. Infections may also occur if you pick or cut a wart, as bacteria may enter them.
Kids are more prone to warts as they get a lot of cuts. However, anyone can acquire them. The elderly and those with compromised immune systems or autoimmune illnesses are more vulnerable to the virus that causes warts.
Different Types of Warts
There are different types of warts that may appear on a person’s skin, and they are identified by where they grow and what they look like. Below are some of the most common types of warts:
These warts usually grow on the backs of the hand and on the fingers, toes, knees, and around the nails. They occur where the skin is broken, such as from picking at hangnails, biting fingernails, or where the skin was scraped or cut. Aside from being unattractive, common warts may also bleed or cause pain.
These are also referred to as facial warts. They are fast-growing and usually grow on the face around the eyes, mouth, and nose. This type of warts may cause bleeding or itching, but they mostly react to over-the-counter medications. Filiform warts resemble long threads or thin fingers that stick out on the skin.
Flat warts are also known as plane warts. They appear on the face, eyelids, forehead, or neck as flesh-colored or white bumps that feature a flat top. Kids usually get these warts on their faces. Men often get them on their beard area, while women get them on their legs. Flat wars usually occur in multiples.
These warts appear as flat lesions, small bumps, or tiny stemlike protrusions. Women commonly get genital warts on the vulva, but they can also get them on the cervix, in the vagina, or next to the anus. On the other hand, men typically develop genital warts on the scrotum, penis, or anus. These warts can itch but don’t usually cause pain. However, aside from being a nuisance, genital warts are also a precursor for cancer. Therefore, they need to be treated to lessen the risk.
Plantar and Palmar Warts
Plantar warts are those that grow on the balls or heels of the feet. They are hard and grainy, and since they are under the feet, they may cause pain as you are constantly applying pressure to them when you stand or walk. They can develop in clusters and are referred to as mosaic warts. Palmar warts, on the other hand, are those that occur on the palms of the hand. The clogged blood arteries that originally supplied them with blood can cause both of these forms of warts to look like black spots.
Subungual and Periungual Warts
These types of warts grow around and under the fingernails and toenails. They resemble rough growths with uneven borders and irregular lumps. Warts that are periungual and subungual may be uncomfortable and impede nail growth.
Medical Treatments for Warts
Warts often go away without any treatment, especially for children. Warts may not go away in adults as quickly or readily as they do in children, though. Even though most warts are harmless, dermatologists still treat them. It is important to reach out to a dermatologist if you can’t get rid of warts, if they hurt, or if they are too many. They can offer you the right treatments, depending on your age, health, and the type of wart that you have.
If you are wondering how dermatologists treat warts, below are some of the medical treatments for warts that you need to learn about:
Cryotherapy is the most common treatment for common warts in adults and older kids. It involves applying liquid nitrogen to destroy warts by freezing the water inside them. This treatment creates a blister that sloughs off in about a week. The procedure is usually repeated every three to four weeks for up to four treatments. This type of medical treatment for warts is not too painful, but it may cause dark spots in people who have dark skin.
Dermatologists may treat warts in their office by “painting” them with cantharidin. It causes a blister to form under the wart. You will visit the dermatologist’s clinic again in about a week, and he or she will remove the dead wart.
Electrosurgery and Curettage
Electrosurgery or burning is a good treatment option for common warts, foot warts, and filiform warts. Curettage, on the other hand, involves scraping off the wart with a sharp knife or a small, spoon-shaped tool. These procedures are usually used together. The dermatologist may remove warts by scraping them off before or after electrosurgery.
Excision pertains to the method of cutting out the wart, and it is done by the doctor.
Laser treatment is an option, and it is often done for warts that have not responded to other therapies or treatments. Before laser treatment, the dermatologist will numb the wart with an anesthetic injection. With pulsed dye laser treatment, light penetrates the wart and dilates and destroys the blood vessels that supply it. Depending on the size and location of the wart, it usually resolves after one to three treatments. Some of the common side effects of laser treatment include redness, swelling, and a blister on the side.
Chemical peels are best for flat warts. Since a lot of warts appear, dermatologists usually prescribe “peeling” methods to treat them. It means that you need to spread some peeling medicine at home daily. These include salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and tretinoin.
Dermatologists may also inject each wart with an anti-cancer medicine called bleomycin. These shots may hurt and may also have other side effects, like nail loss if given in the fingers.
This type of warts treatment uses the own immune system of the patient to fight warts. It is used when warts stay despite other treatments. One example of immunotherapy involves the application of a chemical called diphencyprone (DCP) to warts. A mild allergic reaction may occur around the treated warts, but it may cause warts to go away. Besides that, receiving injections of interferon is another form of immunotherapy. It boosts the body’s immune system, giving it the ability to fight the virus.
Products You Can Use for Warts Removal
Aside from going to dermatologists to get warts treatments, some people choose to use products that may also help in removing warts. When you search for products for warts removal, you will be bombarded with a lot of options. However, before you purchase and use one, you need to ensure that it is a safe and trustworthy product to avoid further skin issues. In order to find the best products for warts, below are some of the things you might want to look for:
These days, there is a wide array of over-the-counter wart treatments. However, if you are sensitive to pain and discomfort, you may want to avoid the freezing ones. Try to look for a patch or bandage option, or go for a gentle cream or stick wart remover.
It is possible to get better results with products that contain an active pharmaceutical ingredient compared to a natural ingredient when it comes to treating warts at home. Unless you are planning to freeze your wart, a product that contains salicylic acid is a good bet. At low levels, salicylic acid is perfect for acne treatment. However, when used at high levels, it is effective at removing cells infected by the wart virus.
However, do not immediately use the maximum strength dosage of salicylic acid. Start off with the lower strengths and increase it gradually every four weeks to a higher concentration if needed. But if your skin becomes red, raw, or begins to peel, discontinue the use and consult a dermatologist.
Type of Wart
Depending on the kind of wart that you have, you need to seek a different product. Ensure that the product you choose to use is applicable to the type and location of warts on your skin.
One of the important things you need to think about when choosing a product for warts removal is the ease of use. For instance, if you choose a liquid or gel treatment, you need to leave some time for it to dry. Also, if your wart is on your foot, a patch that can be stuck on and left all day is a better choice.
After learning about the things that you need to consider when choosing warts removal products, below are some of the over-the-counter warts removers on the market that you might want to try:
- Healing Natural Oils H-Warts Formula: This product claims to treat most common warts, such as flat warts on all places of the body, except for those near the eyes. It is easy to use. You just need to dip in a Q-tip and dab it on the affected area. This product does not give any burning sensation, making it safe to use. It is made of all-natural ingredients, and it does not leave any blemishes or scars after use. However, it might not be very effective for abnormally serious cases of warts.
- WartStick Maximum Strength Wart Remover: This is an odorless, non-painful wart remover. Salicylic acid, at a concentration of 40%, gives it maximum power and quick results. It is simple to apply and dries quickly after use. It is best used for eliminating plantar or common warts.
- Compound W Wart Remover Pads: The wart is treated and concealed by a Compound W one-step pad. This waterproof pad will shield the affected area as it recovers. It helps the skin stay healthy and quickly removes warts. Common and plantar warts can be simply and painlessly removed in a safe and effective manner. There is also an additional cushion for comfort.
- Dr. Scholl’s FreezeAway Wart Remover: A treatment to quickly freeze the wart and aid in its removal is Dr. Scholl’s Freeze Away Wart Remover. The outcome may be as quick as the initial application. It is also safe to be used on children four years old and up. This freezing spray is based on a doctor’s tried-and-true treatment for people with plantar and common warts. When the wart is removed, the body will grow new, healthy tissue in its place.
- Bazuka Extra Strength Warts Treatment: It is a gel wart remover called Bazuka Extra Strength 6G. The substance’s 26% salicylic acid serves as the active component. Additionally, it contains pyroxylin, ethanol, acetone, and isopropyl alcohol together with camphor povidone. Warts, corns, moles, and calluses are broken down and removed by the combination of the substances. It helps to remove the extra skin with a washcloth or pumice stone by softening the skin growth. Furthermore, it aids in the virus-killing process inside the wart or verruca.
- Compound W Fast-Acting Gel Wart Remover: Plantar warts are swiftly and effectively removed with Compound W Maximum Strength Fast Acting Gel Wart Remover by penetrating the skin. This gel wart remover includes a no-spill liquid salicylic acid formula packed in an on-the-go tube container in addition to its fast-acting formula. According to the National Consumer Panel, 52 Week from 2018 to 2020, and the IQVIA Claim Substantiation Validation Statement, 12/11/18 – 11/30/19, this gel wart remover is the most trusted and authorized wart remover among expert dermatologists.
How to Prevent Warts
Warts can’t actually be prevented, but you can lessen your chance of contracting the virus or stop them from spreading. Below are some of the things that you can practice:
- Do not shave over a wart.
- Stop biting your nails or picking at cuticles
- Avoid sharing towels, washcloths, clothes, nail clippers, razors, and other personal items with other people.
- Do not touch the wart of another person.
- To avoid genital warts, get the HPV vaccine and use condoms.
- Always keep your feet dry to prevent plantar warts from spreading.
- Do not scratch, cut, or pick at a wart.
- When using a public shower, pool, or locker room, always wear slippers or shoes.
When it comes to treating warts, being patient is also key, especially if you choose to use warts removal products at home. For some people, warts may not be a big issue. However, for others, it can be painful and bothersome, depending on the area where they are formed.
Warts can also lessen a person’s self-confidence due to their unattractive appearance, which can affect their daily activities. Therefore, to prevent warts, always consider cleanliness and proper hygiene. And if warts are really bothering you or affecting your daily activities, the best thing to do is visit a dermatologist to have them treated. We hope this post helped you learn more about dealing with warts.
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