Warts are a common, harmless skin condition. They are caused by the human papillomavirus, or HPV, and results in a fast growth or bump on the skin. Children tend to get warts more often than adults, and these unsightly growths are usually found on fingers and toes—but can appear anywhere on the body.
Even though warts are harmless, a lot of people want them removed. They are also highly contagious, so it is a good idea to get these bumps professionally removed as quickly as possible.
The most common way to get a wart is to catch it from someone else. Some people are naturally more vulnerable to warts than others. Direct contact can spread the virus, and that’s a pretty common occurrence if you shake a lot of people’s hands. Warts are spread by having a cut that comes in contact with the virus. Any kind of small wound, such as a hangnail or shaving nick, is enough to start the infection.
Children get warts more often than adults because their immune systems aren’t as strong. Adults with weakened immune systems will also catch warts easier than others. However, doctors are not entirely sure why some people simply seem to get warts more than others.
The only way to prevent warts is to prevent contact with another person who has warts. This is not always possible, since it is never obvious who has a wart. However, there are some preventative measures you can take to reduce your risk of getting warts. Washing your hands regularly is key, especially if you make skin to skin contact with a lot of people. Keeping your skin moisturized, free from cuts, and healthy is also important. Those who bite their fingernails or chew their cuticles have an additional incentive to stop—that habit creates a breeding ground for warts.
Always use clean towels and avoid sharing them, especially with strangers. When in public locker rooms and showers, wear flip flops and avoid standing water.
Sometimes warts will disappear without treatment. Sometimes they won’t. However, even warts that do go away without treatment can take months or even years to do so. There are also “mother warts,” similar to kombucha, that can spread the virus to other body parts. It is best to treat warts immediately, especially to stop the spread to other people.
It’s a good idea to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist as soon as you notice any skin condition, including warts. Sometimes they can be mistaken for another, more serious condition. Dermatologists are the only professionals equipped with the skills and tools to immediately and effectively remove warts in a single appointment. It is usually quicker and easier than less effective at-home treatments.
Dermatologists have a few options for treating warts depending on the location and your skin type. One of the most popular options is to freeze the wart via liquid nitrogen. Sometimes burning the wart off is the better choice. A dermatologist might use a laser for more stubborn warts. Other times cantharidin, a special chemical, will be applied so the skin blisters and falls off.
No matter the approach, “killing” the affected top layer of skin will permanently remove the wart with virtually no damage to the new skin. Surgical removal is rare, but may be required in certain situations.
The same wart won’t return, but people who seem to be prone to warts may have more warts in the future. These warts may or may not be in the same location. Unfortunately, some people are simply vulnerable to the wart-causing virus. You will want a trusted dermatologist in your corner to take care of the pesky growths as they occur.
The faster your wart is removed, the less likely you’ll be to spread the virus to others. Spectrum Dermatology is equipped with all the latest equipment for fast, painless wart removal. Contact one of our four locations in the Phoenix and Scottsdale areas at (480) 948-8400 for full wart removal services.