Wart Removal and Treatment Options

What are warts? Warts are small skin growths that are caused by the Human papillomavirus (HPV). There are more than 100 known types of HPV, a virus that infects the top layer of skin. Small and usually painless, warts tend to be more embarrassing than dangerous. Warts are usually rough and skin-colored. Depending on the HPV strain and the part of body affected, however, they can be flat, dark and smooth. They are not usually cancerous.

HPV causes the top layer of skin to grow at a rapid pace. The result is a wart. Typically these warts will go away on their own in a few months, or a few years.

Types of warts

There are five varieties of warts. These include:

  • Flat warts – typically pink, light brown or yellow. They are flat and found on the face, arms or legs.
  • Filiform warts – the same color as your skin with threadlike growths protruding from them. They are typically found on the mouth, nose, or face.
  • Plantar warts – as their name suggests, these warts are found on the soles of the feet. They are thick, hard, darkened specks. They can be painful to walk on.
  • Common warts – typically grown on the hand, but can be found throughout the body. They are shaped like a dome and are typically gray-brown in color.
  • Periungual warts – grown under one’s toenails and fingernails. These warts affect nail growth and look like rough bumps.

How are warts spread?

Warts are a contagious viral infection, which can be spread by contact, such as from one part of your body to another, handshakes, or handling infected objects.

How can I treat my warts

There are various over-the-counter medications for warts. Most of these are a salicylic acid solution or a freezing spray. The spray is less effective than the freezing treatments done by dermatologists. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label.

Do not try to treat warts on your face or genitals yourself. These need to be treated by a dermatologist.

When should a dermatologist treat my warts?

For warts that do not respond to over-the-counter medications, dermatologists have much more effective treatments, including:

  • Cryotherapy (cryosurgery), which uses liquid nitrogen. This destroys the wart virus and the skin cells that are infected with HPV.
  • Cantharidint is a medication that causes the wart to blister. It is not painful and is often used for children’s warts.
  • Immunotherapy uses a medicine called intralesional candida antigen to stimulate your immune system against the warts.
  • Other medications, including Aldara, Zyclara, Imiquimod, and Veregen can be prescribed.

Removing warts though laser surgery

When other treatments have failed, laser surgery is often used for stubborn warts, like plantar warts and those around the fingers. When speed of removal is important, laser surgery is often the treatment of choice. LA Laser Center consists of experts in regards to these treatments.

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