When a growth or bump appears on the surface of your skin, you very likely begin to wonder what it is and why it’s there. More importantly, you want to know if you should be concerned and how to get rid of the little surprise.
If your skin condition appeared from nowhere, is localized to one area, and does not itch or burn, it could be a wart. Continue reading to determine whether warts fit your condition and get in touch with our board-certified dermatologists by calling West Dermatology at 888-554-8740 or filling out the online contact form. Our advanced treatments can get rid of your condition and restore your appearance as soon as possible.
What are Warts?
Warts are flesh-toned tumors, usually small- to medium-sized, which raise from the skin anywhere on the body. Often, warts affect one concentrated part of a person’s body such as just hands or just feet. Warts come in five types:
Common warts, also called ‘dome’ warts, are small and rough, and most often grow on fingers and hands. Common warts usually disappear on their own, but can be removed if they are unsightly or in the way.
Periungual Warts are warts that develop under the fingernail or toenail. They often appear bumpy – like cauliflower – and lighter than the surrounding flesh. Periungual warts are more hazardous than common warts because they can lift the nail and cause damage to the nail bed.
Filiform Warts are long, narrow warts that often appear on the face. Filiform warts sometimes travel in clusters and gather around the lips or eyes. They are not dangerous but can be itchy and become irritated with repetitive scratching or rubbing.
Flat Warts, also referred to as juvenile warts, are most common among children and teens and usually present in multiples. Adults can also be prone to flat warts. One hundred or more flat warts can appear at the same time, and each is individually the size of a pinhead.
Plantar warts are rough, grainy warts that surface on the bottom (plantar area) of the foot. They are often found on the ball or heel, where pressure is being placed while walking. Plantar warts can grow outward or inward, inside of a callus. Plantar warts are often the most painful and most often removed surgically largely due to the pain they inflict when walking.
What Do Warts Look Like?
Warts often appear similar in color to the skin where they develop, but at times they appear lighter or slightly darker. Warts appear all at once and rarely fluctuate in size. Warts can appear as one solid dome or in a cluster. When a wart is spotted in one location, additional warts—if any—will often appear in a similar location on the body.
What Causes Warts?
Catching warts from touching toads is a myth, and they are not an indication of uncleanliness. These little, benign tumors are actually caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV).
HPV comes in many strains, some of which are more dangerous than others. Those strains which cause warts infect a person by coming into contact with his or her skin and rooting there. Broken skin is more susceptible to infiltration of HPV, and is thereby at greater risk for the appearance of warts.
Warts are contagious. Though unexplained by science, some people are more susceptible to warts than others. Even so, any person can contract warts. To help prevent warts:
- Avoid contact with any known warts on another person.
- Bring your own towel to the gym, and wear flip-flops in communal showers to stay safe. Warts can spread from skin-to-skin contact to the affected area or by shared use of a bath towel or similar item.
- Cover any broken skin to protect it from the elements and from viruses such as HPV. Be sure to keep those areas clean and dry.
Routine personal hygiene will help prevent the spread of warts, as it does for any virus. Wash your hands regularly, and keep bathrooms and heavily used surfaces clean. Learn more about treatment for warts at WebMD.com.
Warts can be treated to hasten their disappearance. Most warts will disappear on their own, but this can take months or years.
At-Home Wart Treatment Options
There are many natural, at-home treatment methods that have proven successful for some patients. Salicylic acid plasters and over-the-counter wart removers can both be used at home. Some people try use clear nail polish or duct tape to suffocate a wart, but there’s no real evidence that those options are anything more than a placebo.
These patches cover the wart to suffocate the virus. After a few days, they’re removed, the wart is cleaned, and a pumice stone is used to slough away dead skin. This process needs to be repeated, sometimes for months, and even then does not guarantee results.
If you try these treatments and end up with little to no results, it may be time to try a medical approach to their removal.
Medical Wart Treatment Options
For a faster, safe, and reliable approach to wart removal, visit a dermatologist. Your doctor can diagnose the cause and severity of your wart, and determine the best approach for the medical treatment your wart(s):
- Freezing the wart(s) for removal using Liquid Nitrogen
- Removing the wart(s) via laser
- Removing the wart(s) via Cantharidin
- Immune System Strengthening Medication
- Surgical Removal
It is important to treat your warts—by covering or removing them—even if they are not bothering you, because they have the capacity to spread HPV to other parts of your own body and to other people. You can help prevent the spread of HPV by keeping warts on your body clean and unbroken, and by avoiding skin-to-skin contact of these areas to other parts of your own body and to others.
Get Effective Wart Treatment at West Dermatology
Treatment success varies for each patient and for each individual instance of warts. The first step is to review the information presented and try to determine which type of wart yours may be. Next, find a dermatologist in your area to treat your skin and remove the wart safely and simply.
The board-certified dermatologists at West Dermatology are always ready to consult with new and existing patients to determine an optimal course for treatment. Call the West Dermatology office nearest to you, or contact us online today to schedule a consultation.
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