What are Warts
Verruca or warts are benign, non-cancerous, skin-colored growths that affect men, women, and children of all ages. The most commonly affect the hands.
Warts are contagious and caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). To become infected, direct or indirect contact with the virus is needed and they may appear 2-6 months afterward. The skin growths can spread easily if you cut or damage your skin in some way such as nail-biting, shaving, or open wounds.
Types of Warts
The appearance of a wart depends on the location. The most common types are:
- COMMON WARTS (VERRUCA VULGARIS): small, rough warts that may have black dots representing clotted blood vessels. These typically occur around the fingernails and on the backs of hands
- PLANTAR: affect the bottom of the feet and may be very painful when walking
- FLAT: smaller, smoother and typically appear in greater numbers on the face and legs
- GENITAL WARTS (CONDYLOMATA ACUMINATA): usually sexually transmitted and may be rough or smooth, flesh-colored skin growth on the genitals, inside the vagina, or around the anus.
In children, warts can disappear on their own without treatment over several months to years. However, there are some types that are annoying, painful, or quickly spreading should be treated. In adults, warts do not disappear as rapidly or easily and usually require treatment. The type of skin growth and your age may determine the most appropriate method of removal.
- Cryotherapy: liquid nitrogen is used in the office to freeze them
- Cantharidin: is a medicine extracted from blister beetles. It is painlessly applied in the office and causes a blister to form under the skin growth
- Debulking: clipping or shaving away the dead part of them, week(s) after cantharidin or cryotherapy is used, before re-treat the remaining skin growth if necessary
- Curettage and Desiccation: which scrape away the growth and uses electricity to burn the virus
- Surgical Removal: effective for deep or large skin growths
- Topical prescriptions: salicylic acid, topical chemotherapy, or retinoids – not as quick and may not be as effective as other methods for removal
For more information about Warts, view some of our articles.