Warts are generally small and completely harmless, but they are not very attractive, leaving you feeling unconfident in yourself. Warts are typically painless, but they can be uncomfortable, especially if they develop in areas like the soles of your feet. Keep reading to learn more about what causes warts and what your treatment options are.
Where Do Warts Come From?
Warts are caused by an infection referred to as the human papillomavirus (HPV, for short). There are over 100 different strains of this virus that can cause warts to develop on various parts of the body. It is important to keep in mind that the HPV strain that causes warts to develop in the genital area is not the same type of HPV that causes the development of warts on the rest of your body.
Do You Have Options?
In a number of instances, warts will slowly go away on their own as the infection is fought off by your body. Unfortunately, this can take quite a few months, possibly even years. So, if the wart is uncomfortable or if you are embarrassed by the wart, then you may be interested in finding out what wart removal methods are available to you. There are some over-the-counter options available if you are healthy and the wart is not giving signs that you should see a dermatologist (see below).
When to See a Dermatologist
There are instances when you should schedule an appointment with your dermatologist as soon as possible. If you have diabetes or a weak immune system, then you need to visit your dermatologist for assistance in the wart removal process. In addition, if the warts are not responding to DIY or at-home treatments or if they are spreading, worsening, bleeding, itching, causing pain, or developing on your genitals or face, you need to see a professional immediately.
How Are Warts Treated?
Depending on your individual situation, your dermatologist may suggest a few different methods of wart removal. Salicylic acid is a topical treatment that can be applied to warts on the hands, knees, and feet. It will need to be applied for a few weeks on a daily basis. A pumice stone will also be used to file the outer layer of dead skin from the wart. This particular treatment works by killing the wart layer by layer. Another option is to freeze the wart with liquid nitrogen—a process often known as cryotherapy. This often takes a few sessions to remove the wart completely.
When the aforementioned options aren't successful, it may be possible to burn, cut, or remove the wart using a laser.
If you would like to learn more, contact a dermatologist near you.