Warts & Wart Removal
Common warts are local growths in the skin that are caused by human papaloma virus (HPV) infection. Although they are considered to be contagious, it is very common for just one family member to have them. In addition, they often affect just one part of the body (such as the hands or the feet) without spreading over time to other areas.
What are some types of common warts?
- There is the familiar type of dome-shaped warts on the backs of fingers, toes, and knees.
- Plantar warts are found on the bottom of the foot.
- Flat (“plane”) warts may arise on the face, legs, and other parts of the body, often in large numbers.
- Periungual warts are warts around or under the nail.
- Filiform warts typically appear as a single long stalk, often on the face.
What is the treatment for common warts?
Over-the-counter treatments for common skin warts has long been based upon the use of products containing salicylic acid. Newer nonprescription wart treatments use aerosols to freeze warts.
These are available as drops, gels, pads, and plasters. They are designed for application to all kinds of warts, from tiny ones to great, big lumpy ones. Salicylic acid is a keratolytic medication, which means it dissolves the protein (keratin), which makes up most of both the wart and the thick layer of dead skin that often tops it.
Nonprescription freezing methods
Aerosol wart treatments use sprays that freeze warts at a temperature of minus 70 F (minus 57 C). This compares with the liquid nitrogen used by most dermatologists, which is considerably colder (minus 320 F or minus 196 C).
Are wart treatments effective?
Above all, wart treatments require patience. How well wart treatments work is another matter. Warts can appear and disappear without an identifiable cause and may disappear on their own without treatment. Some warts sprout offshoots near the main wart, and others don’t. Some hurt, and others are painless. Certain warts, even of the same type, respond to treatment, while others (even on the same person at the same time) don’t. All treatment methods often require many sessions over weeks, months, or longer to succeed.
The main reason that some topical treatments don’t work is that the wart virus is particularly deep within the skin. Its even deeper on the bottom of the foot and on the hands since the skin is deeper there.
For definitive treatment local anesthetic is applied to the wart and a laser beam is directed into the root of the wart. This results in destruction of the virus itself. However, the longer the wart is present the thicker it becomes. Combined with a location such as on the hand and foot, 2-4 treatments maybe required It is best to treat warts with a laser while they are in their early stages of growth.