Warts, though benign, have a bad reputation and in fairy tales notoriously appear not only on frogs and witches, but on other less than pleasant characters. (Who ever heard of a prince or princess with a wart?) Since a majority of individuals develop warts during their lifetimes, it is important to demythologize these harmless lesions. Nonetheless, as with any spot on your skin that you can’t identify or that has recently changed, you need to consult with an experienced dermatologist to make certain that what you have is, in fact, a wart. Also, the appearance or location of a particular wart may make you want to have it removed for reasons of aesthetics or discomfort. If you live in Valrico, Florida or its surrounding area and are seeking a talented and responsive dermatologist, Dr. Harvey-Dent of Unique Dermatology & Wellness Center is the one to see.
Causes of Warts
Warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) which infects the top layer of skin. Damaged skin, such as skin that has been picked at, scratched, or bitten (like hangnails) is more likely to be infected with the virus. Common warts appear as small, hard bumps, most often on the hands or fingers. They frequently feature tiny black dots which are actually small, clotted blood vessels. Some warts, especially in children, may disappear on their own. Beyond common warts, there are more than 150 types of warts and some strains of HPV are acquired through sexual contact.
Are Warts Contagious?
The virus that causes warts is highly contagious and can be transferred from one person to another by skin contact, or by sharing towels, razors, or other personal items. Warts may take several months to show up after contact. It is also possible to inadvertently spread warts from one part of your body to another. Children and adolescents get more warts more often than adults simply because they haven’t yet built up an immunity to the various strains of HPV. For similar reasons, individuals with weakened immune systems, like those with rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, or HIV, are also at greater risk.
Types of Warts
As mentioned, there are a great many kinds of warts. Apart from “common” warts, other frequently occurring warts include:
Though these warts tend to be smaller and smoother than other warts, they usually grow in large numbers — 20 to 100 at a time. They often appear on children’s faces, men’s beard regions, and women’s legs.
Because plantar warts grow on the sole of the foot, the pressure of standing and walking causes them to grow deeper into the skin. Patients may develop just one plantar wart or a cluster of them. In the latter case, they are referred to as mosaic warts.
Filiform warts grow quickly and have the appearance of tiny brushes. Even though they are not usually uncomfortable, they can make you self-conscious because they usually grow on the face, around your eyes, nose, or mouth.
It is estimated that a high percentage of sexually active individuals in the United States have genital warts at some time in their lives. These warts appear as small, flesh-colored bumps on the genitals, often in clusters. It should be remembered that strains of HPV that can cause cancer can also be passed on through vaginal, oral, or anal sex.
If you want to have any type of warts evaluated or removed, it is crucial that you visit a knowledgeable dermatologist. Attempting self-treatment can cause serious trouble.
Reasons to Check Out Your Warts with a Dermatologist
In spite of the fact that most warts will never result in any kind of serious problem, it is never wise to take unnecessary medical risks. You should consult with your dermatologist if:
- The growths change in appearance or are painful
- The growth of warts spreads, persists, or recurs
- The warts bother you physically or emotionally
- You aren’t sure whether the growths you have are actually warts
- You are an adult and begin having numerous warts
Treatments Dr. Harvey-Dent Uses to Remove Warts
There are a number of methods Dr. Harvey-Dent uses to treat and remove warts . These methods include:
This method is typically used for adults and older children since the nitrogen administered to freeze off the common warts is so cold that it causes a short period of pain, intolerable to young children. You may need more than one session. Cryosurgery may result in light spots on those with dark skin.
Cantharidin is painted onto a wart, causing a blister to form beneath; this blister lifts off the wart in about a week. Because the immediate process is painless, though the area may itch or burn a few hours later, this is a preferred method to use on young children.
There are several prescription creams that may be used to treat especially stubborn warts. These creams work by mobilizing your own immune system to rid your skin of warts.
In this method the tip of a special needle is used to burn the wart off with an electric charge.This method is used for common warts, filiform warts, and plantar warts.
During curettage, the wart is scraped off with a sharp knife or small, spoon-shaped tool. In many cases it is combined with electrosurgery.
What Makes Unique Dermatology & Wellness Center an Excellent Choice
If you have a skin problem like warts, or if you have another medical or body image problem that is making you feel less than happy, there is no finer place to come than Unique Dermatology & Wellness Center. We can be reached by phone or through the contact form on our website. You will find us to be welcoming and responsive to your individual needs.