Wart Removal: How to Treat Warts
Warts are usually benign (noncancerous) and frequently painless. Some healthcare providers will recommend not treating them since they are benign and can go away without any treatment. While this is often the case, if they are not treated they can grow deeper, and more numerous, spreading to other parts of the body or to another person entirely. For this reason, most medical providers will recommend wart removal. There are numerous treatments for warts, including prescription and non-prescription creams, cryotherapy, excision, and cauterizing, among others. A dermatologist for warts will be able to provide stronger, often more effective treatment than over the counter products
What are Warts? Different Types of Warts
Warts are small, usually harmless growths that appear most frequently on the hands and feet. Sometimes they look flat and smooth, other times they have a dome-shaped or cauliflower-like appearance. The skin surrounding it can also be lighter or darker than other areas of the body. The different types of warts are usually identified by their shape and appearance. Here are brief descriptions of the kinds we see most often.
Common – found most often on the hands, fingers, knees and elbows, but can grow anywhere on the body. Children, young adults and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop common warts.
Plantar – grow on the soles of feet or on the bottom of toes and can be mistaken for corns or calluses. They look like hard, thick patches of skin, often with dark specks. Plantar warts are often painful because they are pushed deeper into the skin by body weight. It can feel like standing or walking on a stone. Sometimes multiple small plantar warts will group into a large flat cluster referred to as a “mosaic wart”.
Flat – are smoother and flatter than the other types. Most of the time they are small (about the size of a pinhead). They are pink, light brown or yellow in color and tend to grow on the face or legs.
What Causes Warts?
Warts are caused by different forms of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). They occur in people of all ages and can spread from person-to-person and from one part of the body to another. The HPV virus is very resilient and can linger in damp, warm areas for more than a month without a host. HPV warts are spread through touch, so it is possible to pick up the virus by touching a surface or items like towels that have come in contact with a wart.