What are warts?
Warts are skin growths caused by viral infection with the HPV virus. Warts affect the top layer of the skin, and are not usually cancerous. Usually, warts are skin colored and rough, however they can be flat, dark and smooth, depending on the strain of HPV virus, the location on the body and the immune system of affected individual. Warts are contagious and you can spread them to other people and even to yourself, which is why wart removal is recommended for individuals who have them.
What are the types of warts?
How do I get warts?
Warts are contagious and are acquired from person to person transmission (like handshakes), contact with infected objects (like gym equipment), and self spread.
How can I treat warts?
There are different wart treatments being used by dermatologists and it varies from the type of wart and the age of the individual.
Over the counter treatments include applying salicylic acid solution. Treatment may take weeks before seeing desirable results. If the wart starts to form a sore, treatment should be paused and delayed temporarily. Over the counter freezing sprays are also used, but they are not nearly as effective as the liquid nitrogen freezing available by dermatologists.
When should I see a dermatologist to treat my warts?
Dermatologists can treat warts much more effectively than over the counter treatments.
Cryotherapy (or cryosurgery) is the most common method of wart removal used by dermatologists and is the preferred warts treatment for teens and adults. This process uses liquid nitrogen spray (under -−346 °F) to destroy the wart virus directly and the skin cells that are harboring the HPV virus.
When treating a child with warts, dermatologists can use a medicine called Cantharidin which causes the wart to blister and is not painful.
Immunotherapy is another way of treating warts; it makes use of the body’s own immune system to battle warts that have developed. Injecting the wart with a medicine called intralesional candida antigen is a way of stimulating the body’s own immune system to go kill the wart virus.
Laser surgery is also used for wart removal and is good for stubborn warts around the fingers or plantar warts on the bottom of the feet. The laser works by directly destroying the HPV virus and cutting off the blood supply to the wart.
Dermatologists will often recommend prescription medicine to be used at home to treat the warts after freezing was applied in the office. Prescription wart medicines include Aldara, Zyclara, Imiquimod, and Veregen.
When should I use laser surgery to remove warts?
Laser surgery is a great option when other treatments have failed or if the person wants to get rid of the warts very quickly. The most common lasers used for warts are the 595 nm Pulsed Dye laser (VBeam laser), the 532 nm laser, and the fractional CO2 laser. NYC dermatologist Dr. Schweiger is an expert in laser wart removal.
For more information about HPV virus: click here