What to do About Warts: Wart Removal, Treatment and Options
Warts can be unsightly and embarrassing. Although they are benign growths and generally harmless, many people seek to speed up the healing of warts through some form of wart removal. In this post, we’ll talk about what warts are and what options you have in getting rid of them as fast as possible.
What causes warts?
Warts are caused when a virus known as Human Papillomavirus (HPV) enters your skin through a cut, scrape, or some other form of skin damage. There are many types of HPV that can cause warts, and the virus can be found anywhere.
Once the virus gets under your skin, it causes rapid growth of the skin. This is what creates the wart. Because HPV is contagious, coming into contact with a wart, or any object that touched a wart, can transfer the virus to you. You can even spread your own warts to other parts of your body if you are not careful.
What types of warts are there?
The list below is not meant to be an exhaustive list of the types of wart that you may come into contact with, but rather a list of the most common.
- Common Wart – The common wart usually appears on your hands or fingers. These warts are harmless and will go away on their own eventually. Because of their unsightly appearance and contagious nature, many people with common warts seek wart removal options.
- Plantar Wart – Plantar warts appear on the soles of your feet. Because they are in an area that isn’t as visible and is easier to avoid potentially contagion spreading contact with, wart removal might not seem as important. However, because they have weight on them every time you walk, plantar warts can be very painful and many people want to get rid of them as soon as possible.
- Genital Warts – One of the most common sexually transmitted infections in North America, genital warts form around the genitals and the anus. Genital warts are different from other types of warts. Because of this, warts on the hands or feet cannot spread to the genitals.
- Flat Warts – As the name implies, these warts are flatter than other warts. In addition to being flatter, they also have a smoother appearance. Flat warts occur more in children than in adults and are commonly found on the face and the legs.
How are warts treated?
Warts will eventually go away on their own. If you have genital warts, you should always have them looked at by a doctor. Other types of warts can be uncomfortable or embarrassing. If you have warts and would like to get rid of them quicker rather than wait for them to go away, you have several options available to you.
- Freezing – Available both as a treatment from your doctor and as an over the counter solution, freezing warts away is a very common wart removal method. Freeing the wart causes a blister to form that takes the wart with it when it falls off. Doctors who perform this procedure have access to more effective methods of freezing a wart than those available over the counter.
- Topical Solutions – Also available over the counter or at the doctor’s office. The most common over the counter solutions will contain salicylic acid. Over a period of several weeks, the wart tissue will dissolve. A faster solution, cantharidin, is available for your doctor to apply. This substance comes from the blister beetle. When painted on the wart, it will cause a blister to form, removing the wart in the same way that freezing does. Other solutions may include medicines to target and kill the virus that causes the wart.
- Laser Treatment – This method involves using a 1064 nm laser to destroy the wart tissue. This method can be good for warts in hard to reach areas or warts that are stubborn and resist other treatments.
- Minor Surgery – Like laser treatment, this method of wart removal can be good if you are dealing with a particularly stubborn wart. It will involve the doctor “cutting” or using an electric needle to remove the offending tissue.
How can I prevent warts in the future?
Although you cannot guarantee that you will not get warts, you can certainly improve your chances of avoiding them.
Most obviously, avoid contact with warts on other people. Beyond that, you want to minimize all of the ways that the virus can spread. Make sure that you wash your hands regularly. This will help kill the virus before it can find a cut or abrasion to get into your skin through.
Next, make sure you treat any cuts or abrasions promptly so that they heal quickly. Because plantar warts appear on the feet, wear shoes or flip-flops in areas where other people are likely to be walking around barefoot. After you have spent some time in such an area, be sure to wash your feet just as you would wash your hands.
Don’t forget that your own warts can spread. If you already have warts, avoid touching them. If you do touch them, wash your hands immediately and avoid touching any other part of your body until you do. Warts like moisture, so try to keep the area around the wart dry. This is especially true of plantar warts as feet can attract moisture quite easily.
Wart Removal | How can Ageless Living Cold Lake help?
At Ageless Living Cold Lake, we understand that you won’t always feel like your best self if you have warts. If you are interested in wart removal, please feel free to contact us. We have an expert staff that will be glad to go over your treatment options.
Some, such as topical solutions, are covered by your provincial healthcare plan. Other methods, such as the 1064 laser, are not. Whatever choice of treatment you make we’ll do our best to make sure that you can feel your best.
If you are not sure whether or not you need to have your warts treated, or if you have any questions at all about the process, feel free to reach out to us with those as well.