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.
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!