Warts are a common skin condition and can appear anywhere on the body. They are generally harmless, but can be embarrassing if located on a prominent or visible area of skin. Treatment aims to destroy the wart without causing damage to the surrounding skin. Ideally, the underlying viral cause of the warts should also be treated, although this isn’t always possible.
What Are Some Common Home Treatments For Warts?
Warts often spontaneously disappear without any treatment. This can sometimes take as long as a year and a half, and isn’t guaranteed, but it does mean immediate treatment isn’t always required. This only applies to common warts – venereal or genital warts usually don’t spontaneously resolve. Treatment for common warts is typically only required if the patient finds the wart embarrassing or painful, or if the warts are spreading to other areas of the body.
Initial treatment for warts usually involves non-prescription medicine. These products, which usually include salicylic acid, help to soften the bond between the wart and skin. This then allows the wart to be removed. Non-prescription treatment for warts can be a long process, as the products often take months to significantly soften the wart-skin bond. Home wart treatment, and even professional treatments, are not guaranteed to be successful and also often don’t treat the underlying viral cause of warts.
What Is Cryotherapy For Warts?
Cryotherapy is a treatment that involves a dermatologist freezing and removing a wart. The procedure uses cold liquid nitrogen to freeze the wart tissue, which then allows it to be destroyed with only a small chance of scar tissue formation. Cryotherapy is often an effective treatment for warts, but can be a painful process.
What Are Other Common Wart Treatments?
There are a variety of other treatments that a dermatologist may recommend for warts. These may include a retinoid cream, which is a prescription substance that’s applied directly to the skin, and immunotherapy. Retinoid creams contain a chemical that interferes with the wart cell’s ability to reproduce, resulting in a reduction or cessation of growth. Immunotherapy “forces” the body’s immune system to kill the underlying virus, and is a highly effective treatment. An example of this type of therapy include Aldara.
If home therapy, cryotherapy and other treatments have been attempted and failed, surgery may be recommended. There are two common types of surgery for warts – laser surgery and electrosurgery. Laser surgery uses a strong and focused beam of light to kill the wart cells, while electrosurgery burns the wart away from the skin with an electrical current.