What are warts?
Warts are small noncancerous growths that appear when your skin is infected with one of the many viruses of the human papillomavirus (HPV) family. This virus triggers extra cell growth, which makes the outer layer of the skin thick and hard in that spot.
Who all are more prone to this condition?
Usually teens get warts more than adults because their immune systems have not yet built up defenses against the many types of HPV. Similarly, people with conditions like psoriasis and IBD are more susceptible to getting warts.
Nature of warts:
Most of the warts are harmless and do not require any treatment or immediate action. But, sometimes waiting for warts to go away could backfire also. A wart might just get bigger, instigate new warts or could also communicate the problem to someone else.
Types of warts:
Common warts grow on your fingers and toes and appear grayer than the surrounding skin. They can be found elsewhere on the body as well.
Plantar warts are found on the soles of the feet and they grow into your skin not out of it.
Flat warts grow on your face, thighs, or arms and are small and not instantly noticeable. They can be pink, brownish or bit yellow in colour.
Filiform warts are the ones which grow around your mouth, nose or sometimes on the neck or under the chin.
Periungual warts are painful and can be found under and around the toenails and fingernails.
Electro surgery is performed to burn the wart with an electric charge through the tip of a needle. It is recommended for common warts, filiform warts and foot warts.
Curettage is scraping off the wart using a sharp knife or a small spoon-shaped tool.
Excision involves slicing of the wart by cutting it out with a sharp blade.
There are a number of gels, liquids and pads with salicylic acid that are available over the counter for treating warts. They work by peeling away the dead skin cells of the wart and gradually letting it dissolve.
Some doctors freeze the warts by using liquid nitrogen. Some paint the warts by using cantharidin – a liquid that makes a blister from underneath it, lifting it off the skin. With time when the blister dries, the wart comes off with the blistered skin.
Stubborn warts can be treated with peeling creams that have glycolic acid, stronger salicylic acid or tretinion in them.
There are ways you can prevent warts and control them from spreading on other parts of your body:
- Hygiene is key. Wash you hands regularly especially if you come in contact of person having warts.
- Never pick or prick your warts.
- Keep your hands and feet dry.
- Wear breathable footwear when in a locker room or a community bathing facility.