Warts are common among people of all ages and genders, and while they are not harmful, they can be embarrassing or cause discomfort. If you or your child have a wart and are seeking treatment, contact Pinnacle Dermatology & Skin Rejuvenation today. Our team will be happy to discuss your treatment options with you to determine and perform the best option for you.
What are Warts?
Warts are raised bumps on the skin that are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) family. While most warts are not dangerous to your health, they can be contagious and cause embarrassment or self-consciousness.
There are different kinds of warts that can appear on different areas of the body, including:
Common Warts: These are often found on your fingers and toes but can grow on other areas of the body. They appear grainy with a rounded top and may have a skin colored or pink color. These warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is quite common. Many forms of this virus are spread by skin-to-skin contact through shared objects, like towels, and can enter your body through a scrape in the skin.
Filiform Warts: Appear around your mouth, nose, neck, and under the chin. They are small and flesh-colored and appear like a small pointy and prickly piece of skin.
Flat Warts: These small warts grow on the face, arms, or thighs. They have a flat top, and can appear as pink, brown, or yellow.
Periungual Warts: Grow underneath and around fingernails and toenails. They can cause discomfort or pain and can disrupt or affect nail growth.
Plantar Warts: These warts grow on the soles of the feet, and grow into your skin, not out of it. If you notice a small hole in the bottom of your foot that is surrounded by hard skin, you may have a plantar wart. They may be tender to walk on.
Wart Treatment Options
Topical medications: Prescription strength salicylic acid, 5-fluorouracil, imiquimod, or Cantherone may be prescribed or applied to your warts in the office. They all have different mechanisms of action.
Laser Treatments: We can use a pulsed-dye laser to eliminate warts. The laser will be placed onto the treatment area and emit pulses of laser light into the wart. Some patients may require multiple laser treatments depending on the size of the wart.
Cryotherapy: Warts can be frozen off using liquid nitrogen. More than one treatment is likely be needed depending on the size of your wart.
Bleomycin injections: Warts can be injected with this chemotherapy agent that kills the wart virus and the skin cells injected. It is a very effective treatment option – especially for thick plantar warts.
Surgery: If your wart has not responded to other treatments, surgery can be done to cut away the wart. However, scarring may occur.
Tips to Preventing Warts
In order to best prevent warts from appearing and keeping them from spreading from one area of your body to another, there are some steps you can take.
- Wash your hands on a regular basis, especially if you know you have come into contact with another person who has warts.
- Cover up your warts with a bandage.
- Never pick at your warts.
- Avoid biting your fingernails, as this can break the skin, allowing for viruses to enter.
- Keep your hand and feet dry, and if you get them wet, dry them off as quickly as possible.
- Wear flip-flops or water-proof sandals when walking in locker rooms or community bathing areas.