14 Apr The World of Warts
Warts are caused by HPV, the human papillomavirus, and have been a source of frustration for millennia. In fact, warts have even been found on mummies who were 3,000 years old. Spectrum Dermatology treats all types of warts, as there are many, and we understand that although warts aren’t harmful or dangerous, they can be painful, embarrassing, and seemingly impossible to get rid of since they spread so easily (both to others and to other parts of your own body).
We can’t go over every type of wart right now because there are over 100 variations of the Human Papillomavirus, the virus responsible for warts. The vast majority of warts will appear on your hands or feet, and that’s the kind of warts most people talk about. However, there are some strains of HPV that cause genital warts, which can increase the risk for cervical cancer in women. Genital warts are typically diagnosed and treated by OB/GYNs, while most other types of warts are best treated by your dermatologist.
5 Common Types of Warts
There are five primary types of warts, starting with the aptly named common wart. This is the wart you see on fingers and toes most often, but they can technically appear anywhere on the body. They have a rounded cap and are usually a gray tone compared to nearby skin. They also feel rough to the touch.
Plantar warts are also common, and these grow on the foot soles. They are unique because they grow into the skin, not externally. They can look like a little hole at the bottom of the foot, and the skin around it is hard. Like most warts, they aren’t dangerous, but they can certainly cause pain when walking.
Flat warts are most often found on the face, arms, and thighs. They are very small, so they might not be noticeable right away. They present with a flat top and may look like they’ve been scraped. These warts vary in color from yellow to brown or pink. Filiform warts are found around the nose and mouth, and sometimes on the neck. They might be mistaken for a skin tag. Finally, there’s periungual warts, which grow under and near fingernails and toenails—they can hurt and they can also alter nail growth.
Who Should Treat Warts?
It’s tempting to pick up a DIY wart treatment, but the reality is that warts are very stubborn and can be tough to get rid of. It’s easier, faster, and more effective to see your dermatologist for wart removal. This is true of any wart, but especially if you notice some key characteristics.
For instance, a wart that is bleeding or has pus should be treated immediately by a skin expert. A wart that hurts, has color changes, or if you have certain conditions such as an immune deficiency or diabetes makes it essential to have a dermatologist care for your wart.
Wart Fast Facts
Keep in mind that it’s very easy to spread warts, so a DIY wart treatment might actually make things worse. Your dermatologist has a variety of tools at hand for wart removal, such as liquid nitrogen. Freezing away warts works by making a controlled blister that raises the wart, making it possible to remove the affected skin area without leaving a scar.
Sometimes very minor surgery is required, but only if the wart does not respond to other methods. Cutting away the wart or burning it away is very effective. Patients receive local anesthesia first so there is no discomfort during an in-patient surgical removal of warts.
Unfortunately, once you’ve had warts once you’re simply more prone to recurrences. There are some best practices to follow, such as washing your hands regularly (especially if you currently have warts or are around someone with warts). Avoid picking at them, and covering them with a bandage can help with this. Hands and feet should be kept dry and clean, and remember to wear shower shoes if you share a shower with anyone.
Warts are a part of life for many people, but staying on top of them with the correct medical dermatological care can give you quick relief. If you have a wart right now, relief is available. Get in touch with Spectrum Dermatology via phone or use the online booking tool to schedule an assessment and removal.