Warts are benign skin growths that develop when a virus infects the top layer of the skin. The viruses that infect the top layer of skin and create warts are called human papillomavirus, HPV. Warts are incredibly contagious and develop quickly.
The most common way for a wart to develop is when clean skin touches skin that is infected by a wart or something that’s been in direct contact with the wart. The ability for this virus to spread is incredible, and why you should be cautious when exposing open skin in places, you aren’t certain about. For instance, a common location that warts are developed is at public pools or wrestling mats, where hundreds of individuals go barefoot for extended amounts of time.
While there are treatments sold in stores that are said to treat warts, it’s important that the root of the wart is reduced to ensure the wart doesn’t come back. Your dermatologist will still offer you a few ways to treat the wart, but, the options will vary on size and location as well. Here are a few of the options that your dermatologist will provide you with:
This treatment forms a blister underneath the wart, pulling the roots out. The Cantharidin is painted on top of the wart and takes hours to take effect.
This treatment is the most common for both adults and children and effectively removes the wart most of the time. We apply liquid nitrogen – a “frozen liquid” – using a special Cry-Ac container that sprays it directly on the site. In some cases, we may attempt the freezing process twice.
Electrosurgery and curettage:
High temperatures can also kill a wart! Electrosurgery is where burning is used to reduce the wart and its roots. Again, the wart is numbed, burned, and then reduce from the area. This can also require multiple visits.
These are the most commonly used treatments, but for certain warts, other methods may be used. Some of the other methods used include laser treatment, chemical peels, bleomycin, and immunotherapy. Unfortunately, there is no cure for warts, so there is a chance that even after treatment the wart may return. In the case of your wart coming back, speak with your dermatologist to determine what actions will be best.
Are over the counter methods sufficient for dealing with warts?
Over-the-counter treatment for common skin warts has long been based upon the use of products containing salicylic acid to destroy the wart. Newer nonprescription wart treatments use aerosols to freeze warts.
Are warts contagious?
Yes. Warts are benign skin growths that appear when a virus infects the top layer of the skin. Viruses that cause warts are called human papillomavirus (HPV). You are more likely to get one of these viruses if you cut or damage your skin in some way. Wart viruses are contagious.