Warts can become a cosmetic, bothersome or even painful nightmare. Effectively removing them is important to prevent contagion with others and further accidental propagation of warts on one’s own body.
What causes warts
Warts are unsightly and often painful growths in the epidermis, with a raised and usually rough surface caused by a localized spurt in the growth of skin cells infected by the human papillomavirus, or HPV. We come into contact with many of 150 strains of HPV often, when shaking hands, opening drawers or grabbing handles. Your own immune system determines your susceptibility to warts. Children, people with immune system abnormalities, and people who work in certain professions can be particularly prone to warts.
Common skin warts
Warts comes in all types, shapes and sizes, the most common of which are:
- COMMON WARTS:are usually light to gray-brown colored, with a raised, rough surface and may have dark specks and are found mostly on the fingers and toes.
- PLANTAR WARTS:are a rough, spongy and usually painful wart found only on the soles of the feet. Clustered together, they are called mosaic warts. Instead of growing out of the skin as most warts do, plantar warts grow inward, appearing as a small hole in the foot surrounded by hard skin.
- FLAT WARTS: present with a flat or slightly raised, smooth, pink, brown or slightly yellow surface and are typically smaller than others. They appear infrequently but usually in numbers and most often on the face, hands, thighs and shins.
- FILIFORM WARTS: remain the same color as the surrounding skin and grow near the mouth and nose, check and under the chin.
- PERIUNGUAL WARTS: are a painful wart that grows around and beneath the toenails and fingernails.
- GENITAL WARTS: can affect all areas of the groin, including the anal region, vulva, scrotum and penis.
At Madison Skin & Laser Center, we treat these and a vast number of other skin concerns and conditions with cutting-edge and patient-centric treatments.
Effective wart removal
Home treatment is not always easy and is rarely effective. A professional wart removal will have a greater ability to assess the wart and will have at their disposal a greater means of treating and removing warts. Professional wart removal aims to do two things: Destroy the wart, and stimulate an immune system response to fight it. Among the many wart treatment and removal options we offer at Madison Skin & Laser Center are:
- Cryotherapy uses safely administered liquid nitrogen to freeze off the wart. It causes a blister to form around the wart, which will then fall off in a week or two. As this is a more painful technique it isn’t typically suited for children.
- Candin injections may be used to stimulate your own natural immune response to warts.
- Cantheridin (‘blister beetle juice’) may be painted on and then left on for several hours for you to remove at home. This method is particularly nice for children because it causes less discomfort.
- Imiquimod cream (prescription) may be used to stimulate an immune response.
- Co2 lasers may be used to destroy the wart. This is particularly effective for warts under the nails.
- Certain lasers like the pulsed dye can be used to cut off the blood supply to the wart.
- Peeling medicine: Prescription-grade wart removal medications remove layers of wart a bit at a time.
- Surgery is an option in excising the wart.
The best approach and most proven effective treatments for wart removal may include multiple options above, and our dermatologists can help you to determine the best treatments dependent on the location and condition of the wart.
While it’s not uncommon to get a wart or two over the course of one’s lifetime, the presence of too many warts can indicate an underlying condition or a change in the body’s immune system and its reaction to external stimuli. Our professional dermatology team assesses all possibilities in order to give you a better fighting chance not only in handling existing warts, but in preventing future ones from appearing.
Washing your hands and feet and keeping them dry, wearing flip-flops in communal facilities and covering up any existing warts can go a long way toward preventing them.