Warts are benign (not cancerous) skin growths of the skin caused by a virus. Warts are contagious, and they can spread by direct contact with wart or indirect contact with something that touched the wart.

Warts
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Signs and Symptoms of Warts

There are several different subtypes of warts including:

  • Common warts are small, flesh-colored, rough bumps. They are typically found on the hands.
  • Flat warts are slightly raised, smooth-topped bumps. They often appear on the face, hands, or shins.
  • Plantar warts are thick, rough, callus-like lesions that are found on the soles of the feet.

Causes of Warts

Warts occur when a virus infects the top layer of the skin. The virus that causes warts is called the human papillomavirus (HPV). There are more than 100 types of HPV, but only a few strains of the HPV virus cause warts on the hands and feet.

Self-Care for Warts

Treating warts can be very challenging. Treatment may take several weeks to months. And, even with treatment, warts often recur or spread. Several at-home therapies include:

  • Over-the-counter wart removers containing salicylic acid (such as Compound W wart remover pads), which can slowly dissolve away the skin layers infected with the wart virus. This treatment needs to be applied daily.
  • Duct tape applied daily also can be helpful.
  • In conjunction with the above approaches, the wart should be soaked in warm water and then filed down using either a pumice stone or nail file to remove any loose skin. This should be done every few days.

Treatment for Warts

There are a variety of possible treatments for your warts, including:

  • Freezing with liquid nitrogen (cryotherapy),
  • Burning with an electrical current (electrodissection),
  • Application of strong acids such as bichloracetic or tricholoracetic acid,
  • Use of topical medications such as imiquimod 5% cream (Aldara) or podophyllin (Condylox),
  • Intralesional immunotherapy with Candida antigen injections, and/or
  • Intralesional chemotherapy with bleomycin injections.

If you are interested in learning more about treatment options for your warts, please call Heller Dermatology & Aesthetic Surgery to schedule your appointment!