At Khrom Dermatology in Brooklyn, NY, we see many patients for treatment of warts, and as such, we also receive a lot of questions about them. What exactly are they? How did I get them? Are they hard to treat?
If you have wondered these same questions, we’re here to answer the most frequently asked questions and address your concerns about warts.
What are Warts?
Warts are small, fleshy growths on the skin that can occur anywhere on the body. They may appear like a blister or may have more a cauliflower-type appearance.
What causes warts?
Warts are infections of the skin that are caused by viruses in the human papillomavirus family. When it comes to HPV, most people immediately think about sexually transmitted diseases, but sexual contact isn’t the only way it spreads. Warts occur when the virus invades the body through a cut, resulting in the rapid growth of skin cells on the epidermis.
Within the HPV family, there are over 100 different kinds of viruses. Because HPV does not have symptoms, individuals who have the virus may come into contact with your skin and end up giving you a wart without ever knowing the source.
Are all warts the same?
There are hundreds of different types of warts. They are classified by the location on the body as well as their appearance. Different types of warts respond to different treatment, which is why it’s important to seek a professional diagnosis for warts. These are among the most common:
- Common warts – Dry, flaky, white skin growths that most often look like a cauliflower. Most common on elbows, fingernails, knees, and toes.
- Plantar Warts – These warts are located on the feet and can actually develop inward due to pressure placed on the location when walking.
- Flat Warts – Dry, small, and white, these warts are smooth and lack a nd cancerous process in the cervix.
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How do you treat warts?
The treatment of warts depends on the type, location, and age of the patient. Some of the most common types of treatment for warts include:
- Cryotherapy – The use of liquid nitrogen to freeze the wart off.
- Electrosurgery and curettage – Burning off of the wart through use of electric current along with scraping the remaining portion of the wart.
- Salicylic acid – Prescription strength medication that removes the wart in layers.
- Cantharidin – Extract derived from a specific type of insect called a blister beetle. When applied directly to the wart, it creates a blister that lifts the wart off the skin.
Can you prevent skin warts?
There are some things you can do if you are prone to skin warts.
- Wash hands regularly
- Clean gym equipment regularly
- Don’t touch other people’s warts
- Wear flip flops in gym locker rooms
- Avoid open cuts on your skin
- Stop biting your nails
Who is at risk for warts?
Warts are common and typically affect a person at least once in their lifetime. However, some people are more prone to developing warts than others. They are:
- Children – They share germs more frequently, are prone to cuts and scrapes and tend to not wash hands as thoroughly.
- Individuals who bite their nails – open cuts on the skin.
- Individuals with weakened immune symptoms – infection risk.
How are warts diagnosed?
Most of the time, warts can be diagnosed by a visual examination. If further testing is required, a small section of the wart can be removed and sent to a lab for examination.
Are warts dangerous?
Warts are considered benign and do not pose a serious health threat. Still, treatment should be sought to eliminate symptoms such as itchy or for aesthetic reasons.
If you have a wart that hasn’t caused pain or interferes with your daily life, we recommend scheduling an appointment for an evaluation. Call Khrom Dermatology in Brooklyn today at 718-615-400
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