Warts are an unfortunate fact of life that many of us have had to reckon with at one point in our lives. Warts don’t have to be a long-term eyesore; you can make quick work of them with the help of your dermatologist.
Warts, or molluscum as they are scientifically known, are skin infections that appear as rough, discolored bumps on the skin. Warts form when the human papillomavirus, or HPV, enters the skin through small cuts or punctures. Since HPV is a very common and hardy virus, it is very commonly spread by primary or secondary contact. Primary contact is when a person comes directly into contact with a wart. Secondary contact refers to contaminated surfaces, like shower floors or other places bare skin is often in contact with. While HPV can cause health complications like cervical cancer, HPV that causes warts does not mean you are a carrier of HPV. However, it is still recommended that kids get an HPV vaccine at age 11 or 12.
Warts, however, don’t always show up in the same way. While they most often occur on the feet and hands, they can appear anywhere on the body. Additionally, warts don’t have to be raised or rough bumps. Sometimes, warts are flat and look more like calluses or appear as horn-like growths called filiform warts.
While it’s true that warts sometimes go away on their own, for some people they can stick around for years! Most warts don’t cause health issues or have any real complications; however, they can cause discomfort when they’re on your feet or hands. Some warts, like genital warts, can actually have a number of symptoms and can be spread through sexual contact. Treating warts is a straightforward practice regardless of where they occur. Topical medications like podofilox are sometimes used when warts form in large clusters or on the genitals. Over-the-counter medications and treatments are out there for warts; they are most commonly the at-home freezing kits. It’s recommended that you don’t attempt to treat warts on your own without a diagnosis. If you believe you have a wart, treating it correctly is very important. Freezing off other skin growths might cause infections or be unnecessary in the event that a growth isn’t actually a wart.
Your dermatologist has a number of treatments available in their office for clearing up warts. The variety is a good thing, because warts can sometimes prove stubborn to certain treatments. One common wart treatment is the use of salicylic acid gels or patches. Also used to treat acne, salicylic acid works by breaking down the proteins that comprise warts. You might need multiple treatments or a number of patches that you can apply yourself over the course of a week or two. Your dermatologist might also suggest cryotherapy for your warts. Your doctor will apply liquid nitrogen to the wart and freeze it during cryotherapy. While you can do the same thing at home, odds are you don’t have the steady hands and comprehensive training and tools that a dermatologist possesses. A skilled dermatologist can apply liquid nitrogen to a small wart on your skin without causing harm to the surrounding skin. Sometimes, multiple sessions of cryotherapy are necessary, but it’s very effective for removing warts. In recent years, dermatologists have been using laser therapy to treat warts. The process is quick and simple: a narrow beam of light is focused on the wart, and the growth is heated quickly. This can destroy the growth itself or the blood vessel that the wart developed from. Once the wart is destroyed, new, healthy skin grows in its place.
Warts are more than an eyesore. They can cause discomfort and impact your self esteem. If you’re looking to eliminate your wart, call the Northeast Dermatology Associates for a consultation now!
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