Warts are a very common skin condition, known as growths that occur when a viral infection triggers excessive production of protein in the skin. These triggered growths are caused by various strains of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), that are transmitted, primarily, by direct contact with infected persons or contaminated objects. The virus replicates in the upper layers of the skin and causes focal disorganized growth, leading to the thickened, firm surface of the clinical wart. This results in a raised, hardened bump that may be roughly textured or smooth like a blister.
A wart can appear anywhere on the body. Those on the feet are called plantar warts. These are generally the only type that is painful. A wart may disappear without intervention, therefore a “wait and see” approach can be attempted, before seeking professional treatment, unless a wart is causing discomfort, is large or carries unusual characteristics. However, if you think you might have genital warts, you should see a dermatologist immediately.
Treatment of warts includes numerous methods. One of the most popular treatments is the liquid nitrogen therapy seen in dermatologist offices. Liquid nitrogen therapy works by freezing and inducing frostbite in the wart and surrounding areas to destroy the cells containing the wart. Other methods of treatment include:
- Aldara® 3-5 times per week to stimulate the body’s immune system to destroy the wart
- Over-the-counter salicylic acid plaster 17-40% cut out to the shape of the wart and applied everyday.
- Pumice stone or “lava rock” scrubbing of the warty skin twice weekly
- Cantherone or trichloroacetic acid (TCA) – Cantherone functions as a blistering agent and is washed off the wart 1-4 hours after application. TCA functions to destroy and peel the top layers of the skin containing the virus.
- Bleomycin Injection – A chemotherapy medication that is injected into the wart directly or poked into the wart via a “prick method”.
- Cryotherapy – Liquid nitrogen used to freeze the wart off
Warts may be persistent despite treatment, and numerous repetitive trips to your dermatologist’s office may be necessary to fully treat the warts.
Still have questions about warts and how we treat them? Call us at 310.205.3555 or 818.914.7546, email us, or click on the chat box on the right lower edge of your screen. We’d be happy to help!