Warts are benign cauliflower-shaped growths on the skin caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). This virus affects upper layers of the skin which is more likely to be infected when it’s damaged or cut. A general name for all those growths on the surface of the skin is papillomas. Warts are contagious and can be easily spread. They usually appear on hands or feet, but there are other types such as genital warts. These unpleasant skin formations are usually skin-colored, but certain types can be dark. The most common types of warts are: common warts, flat warts, genital warts, plantar warts and periungual warts.
Although warts are mainly considered to be harmless, certain types out of 100 types of HPV can cause cancer. If you suffer from this troublesome condition, feel free to contact our clinic and consult our experienced dermatologists.
What Causes Warts?
The culprit behind warts is human papillomavirus which can be spread from person to person, and as it’s highly contagious it can be transmitted even by touching something that was in contact with the wart. That’s why it’s important to disinfect objects that the affected person used, but bear in mind that this virus is pretty resistant and that it should be exposed to 90% ethanol for at least a minute. Certain categories of people are more prone to warts, and among them are children, people who tend to bite their nails and those with weakened immune system. As we have already mentioned, damaged or broken skin is more susceptible to warts because it’s easier for the HPV to enter, and that’s the explanation why children and people with damaged skin around their nails are likely warts victims.
- Common warts usually appear on hands or face. It’s important to stress that they can be spread from on region to the other and they usually affect kids;
- Flat warts usually appear on the face, neck, hands or legs and they are usually smaller and smoother than other warts;
- Genital warts appear in the genital area and they should be properly treated because HPV can cause cervical cancer;
- Plantar warts are painful skin growths that usually appear on the soles of the feet and can be covered in little black spots;
- Periungual warts grow in clusters around the nails.
It’s important to stress that fibroid tumors – a benign growths in the uterus, are not caused by HPV and have nothing to do with warts although they are frequently confused with papillomas.
How to Treat Warts?
Certain warts usually go away without any kind of treatment, especially when it comes to children. When it comes to adults, these unpleasant bumps on the skin are treated for both medical and esthetic reasons and there are numerous options. HPV treatment mainly consists of immunotherapy in order to strengthen body’s immune system and enhance its powers to combat this persistent virus. For example, topical cream Imiquimod can be used to help the immune system fight genital warts. Other types of medications include salicylic acid which comes in forms of adhesive pads and concentrated solutions.
Cantharidin is a substance extracted from beetles that belong to Meloidae family, and it causes warts to blister and finally fall off. Cryosurgery is a common procedure and it literally means “freezing” a wart usually with liquid nitrogen causing it to fall off within a week. Laser treatment is mainly performed on warts that haven’t responded to other methods. Another efficient wart removal procedure is by using radiowaves and this it is convenient because it doesn’t leave scars.
Our clinic offers state-of-the-art medical equipment for wart treatment while our dermatology expert will provide you with the best possible care.