Say Goodbye to Warts: Your Ultimate Guide to How to Get Rid of Warts
Warts are a kind of skin infection that is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). It is a tiny and fleshy growth on the skin and looks like a rough bump. This virus is contagious which means it is spread by touching someone who already has it. These appear mostly on the hands but these can also attack the face, feet, knees, and genitals.
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What are warts?
Warts are usually rough bumps on the skin that are noncancerous. These occur when the human papillomavirus (HPV) enters the skin through a cut that further causes infection and chronic inflammation. This virus promotes extra cell growth that hardens the topmost layer of the skin at that particular place.
These warts can grow anywhere on the skin but hands and feet are the most vulnerable body parts in this regard. Similarly, anyone can get warts but children are the most sensitive ones, get frequent scarring, and hence, are most prone to warts.
How to identify a wart?
Warts are pretty simple to identify.
- These are tiny, grainy, and fleshy bumps.
- These have a rough surface.
- These have black points on the top, which happen due to small and clotted blood vessels.
- These are oval or round in shape with less than one-centimeter width. However, these may join together and grow bigger.
- These can occur anywhere on the body but generally, these are found on hands, face, and knees.
These are usually harmless and painless but contact a doctor if any of these things happen-
- These are painful.
- Change their colour or appearance.
- Attempts have been taken to treat the warts but they persist or spread.
- You suspect that these spreads are not warts.
- You are an adult and facing numerous warts that may be due to a disturbed immune system.
The doctor may ask for a biopsy test done to ensure that it’s not cancerous.
How many types of warts are there?
The types of warts depend on the body area which is affected. The warts are generally categorized as follows-
This is the most common type of warts occurring on any part of the body and hence, is its name. These are round or oval-shaped rough bumps on the skin usually with a width of less than one centimeter. At times, various warts club together and form bigger.
Common wart is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). This type of virus has over 150 types but only a few of those cause warts on hands. If this wart occurs around the fingernails, it is termed a periungual wart. Some may also spread through sexual contact or shared objects.
Warts found on the soles of the feet are termed as plantar warts. Initially, these are small and round shaped leaving some thickened and rough skin but gradually, it may spread and become bigger.
It can be observed that the plantar warts disturb the normal skin lines of the soles of the feet. The clogged blood vessels look like small seeds or black dots in this case.
Flat warts are normally pinkish, yellowish, brownish, or skin-coloured small round bumps on the skin. These are too small, somewhere between 1 and 5 millimeters (mm) in diameter. These warts commonly occur on the face, legs, arms, and top of hands and feet.
These are round or oval, smooth-surfaced, and smaller than other warts. These are not bigger than the head of a pin. These are negligibly raised and occur mostly in groups of 100 or more.
Causes and Symptoms
Different types of warts are caused by different reasons. Let’s have a look at each of them.
Common warts are formed due to a skin infection caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) that enters the skin through a cut or scarring. These are highly contagious and can be spread from person to person or different parts of the body. It can spread via-
- A direct contact with a wart.
- Sexual intercourse (that happens in case of genital warts).
- Sexually transferred (by touching something that is already contaminated with the virus).
- Cutting or picking cuticles and/or nails.
- These may be dome-shaped or flat.
- These could be skin-coloured, blackish, brownish, or grayish.
- These are tiny, grainy, or fleshy bumps with a rough surface.
- These are represented by tiny black dots, which are nothing but clotted blood vessels.
Just like common warts, plantar warts are also caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). This also enters the skin through a break or cut, causing infection, and eventually a plantar wart. It may take a few months of the virus exposure to turn into a wart.
- It may result in skin discoloration (gray, brown, purple, dark pink, yellow).
- The skin surface becomes thick and rough, resembling the shape of a cauliflower.
- Pain, discomfort, or bleeding on or around the wart.
- These are deeper than the other warts.
- Features black or brown specks, basically known as wart seeds. These are nothing but dried blood clots.
- These are formed on feet (on or around toes, forefeet, or heels).
Flat warts are again caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). There are over 100 types of human papillomavirus (HPV) out of which types 3, 10, 28, and 49 cause flat warts. HPV survives in a warm and moist environment. On getting infected by the virus, it spreads majorly on those body parts that remain damp.
When compared with other warts, Flat warts are smaller in size.
These are minimally raised and smooth on top.
In men, these are generally found in the beard area due to shaving, and legs in women.
Prevention: How Can I Prevent Warts?
As aforementioned, these warts are spread via contact with an object or person carrying HPV. There is no way possible to prevent warts but there are certain tips to be followed to minimize the risk of its spread.
- Don’t cut, scratch, or pick at it.
- Bandage it or cover it with duct tape.
- Don’t brush, shave, or comb around the wart.
- Wash your hands and feet properly, frequently, and thoroughly, and keep them as dry as possible.
- Avoid sharing towels, razors, or any other personal items that require hygiene. You can use an electric razor though.
- Avoid direct contact with your as well as other people’s warts.
- The HPV vaccine may also help.
- Use condoms to prevent genital warts.
- Anything you use on the wart area (like pumice stone, nail clipper, or emery board) should not be used on healthy skin and nails.
Treatment Options for Warts
Warts generally go away on their own once the person’s immune system fights back against the virus. If it doesn’t or causes pain, your doctor may suggest certain treatment options.
Technically, this procedure is known as cryotherapy wherein the doctor applies liquid nitrogen to freeze the wart. Afterwards, a blister is formed and then, the blister and the wart automatically peel off. You may go to the doctor several times to completely remove it.
It is a treatment wherein our immune system is made to fight the virus. This is followed when all the other treatments don’t work. It involves applying a chemical, diphencyprone, that causes a mild allergic reaction, thereby making the wart go away.
The doctor applies anesthesia and uses laser light to heat and destroy the blood vessels in the wart. This heat cuts off the blood supply to the wart and eventually kills it.
The doctor may apply a cream or ointment topically on the wart. These days, a liquid containing chemicals like cantharidin and trichloroacetic acid is applied to the wart by the doctor. A blister is formed under the wart that cuts off its blood supply. You need to go back to the doctor within a week to remove the dead wart.
Surgery for wart removal involves two procedures, electrosurgery and curettage. In electrosurgery, the wart is burnt after a local anesthesia and in curettage, the wart is scraped off with a sharp tool.
This procedure involves applying a peeling medicine like glycolic acid, salicylic acid, and tretinoin on the wart. This can be done at home with proper precautions at the prescribed intervals.
Home remedies for treating warts
Everyone can’t go for the aforementioned treatments as these may irritate the skin, can be expensive, and everyone can’t afford them. If you’re having genital warts or warts on your face, never try these remedies, visit a dermatologist instead. The most popular ones are mentioned below-
Various at-home over-the-counter medications contain salicylic acid. Such products may come in gel, liquid, or patch form. This acid dissolves one layer of wart at a time, hence, needs to be applied every day for a few months to get rid of the wart.
Apple cider vinegar (ACV)
ACV is made from fermented apple juice and has an acidic nature. This one also peels away the infected skin gradually and eventually removes the wart. Dilute it with water in a ratio of 2:1, soak a cotton ball in it, place it on the wart, cover it with a bandage, and leave it for a few hours.
There are not many pieces of evidence to prove its efficacy yet this is a popular home remedy because it’s inexpensive and widely available. It’s easy to use as well.
Apply a piece of tape on the wart, keep it there for a few days, remove it, and clean it. Exfoliate the area, remove any dead skin, and reapply the duct after a few hours. Repeat the procedure for a few weeks.
Aspirin also contains salicylic acid which works amazingly well on warts. Crush aspirin tablets, add a few drops of water to it, and make a paste. Apply it on the wart and cover it with a bandage for the whole night.
One should consult a doctor before trying any of the home remedies.
Though a wart is harmless, people do wish to remove it as it doesn’t look aesthetically good and it is contagious.
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Here, at Sakhiya, we have trained staff and an elite team of dermatologists. We give special attention to every patient, give them sufficient time, customize their treatment, and proceed accordingly. If you too have a wart and are wondering how to remove it, book an appointment with us at your nearest location right now.