Warts 101

December 18, 2018

Warts are unsightly, irritating, and common, and can seem to come from nowhere. If you have ever had warts, you probably know a few things about them, like that they can be stubborn and hard to shake. But how much do you really know about warts? Read on, and we’ll answer some common questions about common warts.

  • Are warts harmful? Not typically, but they are unsightly and can be uncomfortable. While they’re not dangerous, they are highly contagious, so if you have warts you’re likely to pass them along to others. What’s more, warts can spread easily on your body if you leave them untreated, so even though they’re benign, it’s best to eradicate them as quickly as possible.
  • Do you get warts from handling frogs and toads? No, you usually get warts from other people. The underlying cause of warts is the human papillomavirus or HPV. There are at least one hundred different types of viruses in the HPV family, and they’re everywhere. Everyone comes into contact with these viruses, whether by shaking hands, typing on a keyboard, or turning a doorknob, and if there’s the tiniest scratch on the skin, the virus can break through and cause warts. Most people will have a wart at least once in their lives.
  • Why do some people get more warts than other people? Doctors don’t really know, but they speculate that some people’s immune systems just have a harder time fighting off viruses. There could also be a genetic component, though we don’t know for sure. Children are more prone to warts than adults, because their immune systems are less developed, and it’s common to see warts on siblings in the same family.
  • Is there anything that can be done to prevent warts? Try to avoid cuts and nicks on your skin. Don’t bite your nails or pick at hangnails, for instance, and be careful when you’re shaving. Wash your hands thoroughly, and if you go to the gym, use a clean towel to wipe down equipment before you use it. Wear flip-flops or shower shoes in the gym locker to protect your feet.
  • Are over the counter treatments effective? They can be. Most doctors recommend trying one of these treatments first, whether it’s taping the wart, applying salicylic acid or clear nail polish, or using a propane freezing solution. Be aware, though, that these treatments can take a long time, and it’s important to stick to the treatment until the wart is gone.
  • What can a doctor do to get rid of warts? There are medications to kill the virus causing your warts, and several different ways to remove the existing Cryotherapy is one method, in which your healthcare provider freezes the warts with liquid nitrogen. Electrosurgery is another option and involves burning off the wart. You can also have the wart surgically removed, through scraping or cutting with a scalpel, also called curettage. When dealing with large warts, doctors will often use electrosurgery and curettage in tandem.

At Skin Cancer Specialists, P.C, we offer innovative and effective methods of skin management, including wart removal. Originally conceived as a practice devoted to treating people with skin cancer, we have grown to become a premier dermatology practice with an aesthetic center that is staffed by licensed cosmetologists and aestheticians. Continually adapting our practice to reflect new and improved technique and procedures, we adhere to the highest standards in the industry. Call 770.422.5557 or contact us through our website to learn about our personalized care and what we can do for you.

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