5 Tips for Getting Rid of Warts

 5 Tips for Getting Rid of Warts

Having a wart can be cause for feeling embarrassed and self-conscious, especially as warts on the hand, an area of your body that is hard to cover up. The good news is that warts are easy to remove. Discover 5 tips on how to remove a wart, including home remedies, treatments from a doctor, and tips to prevent the spread of new warts.

What Is a Wart?

There are a few types of warts, which include the common wart, the plantar wart, and genital warts. The common wart is a benign (non cancerous), raised bump on your skin, often rough on the surface and flesh colored. They can also be dark or have a speckled appearance caused by small blood clots in the skin. The common wart is caused by a virus (human papillomavirus or HPV) and is spread by touch. You are more likely to get the virus if you have a cut on or damage to your skin, such as skin broken by a hangnail. Usually, common warts appear on your hands and fingers and are likely to be acquired if you bite your nails, which can damage the skin around your fingers. Children are more likely to get warts because their immune system is still developing. People with compromised immune systems, like those with HIV, also have a higher likelihood of contracting the HPV virus and getting warts.

Plantar warts are caused by the same virus as common warts, but usually grow on the bottom of your feet, especially on the weight-bearing parts of your feet, such as your heel. Plantar warts can grow in clusters and tend to be flat because the pressure on your feet causes the wart to grow inward. You will know they are there by the hard, thickened skin above the wart. They are also often painful or tender, especially when pressure is applied while walking or doing other activities while on your feet. The small black dots (often called “seeds”) that appear on the plantar wart are clots in small blood vessels. It is usually best to seek the help of a dermatologist in plantar wart treatment.

Genital warts are a common, sexually transmitted condition of the HPV virus. Like plantar warts, they can either grow alone or grow in a cluster, often looking like cauliflower. Often though, they are too small and flat to see. In both men and women, they can appear wherever sexual activity has taken place, such as the groin, the mouth, or the anus. In women, they appear on the vulva, vagina, cervix and groin, while in males, they are found on the groin, penis, scrotum and thigh. Genital warts often cause itching, tenderness, pain, or bleeding.

Home Treatments

Typically, if you have a strong immune system, your warts will go away on their own, but it can take a while, especially as warts can spread to other parts of your skin. It is always best to see a dermatologist to get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan for your warts, but there are some things you can do to get rid of your common warts at home. These treatments are not recommended for genital warts, which should be attended to by a dermatologist.

  • Salicylic acid: you can get this over-the-counter treatment without a prescription. It will either be in a gel, as a liquid, or on a pad or patch. You will need to apply the acid once a day, and should do so after soaking your wart in warm water. You can get rid of the dead skin that develops on top of the wart by filing the skin with an emery board or pumice stone. Make sure to use disposable emery boards or pumice stones, as re-using them can cause the wart(s) to spread.
  • Wart freeze: you can freeze your wart with an over-the-counter product that uses liquid nitrogen as a gel or a spray.
  • Duct tape: you may be able to get rid of your wart by covering it with duct tape. The Mayo Clinic recommends covering the wart with silver duct tape for 6 days, soaking it in water and filing away the dead skin, leaving it exposed for 12 hours and then repeating the process until the wart is gone.
  • Prevent the spread of new warts: there are many things you can do to prevent getting warts and to prevent new warts from forming. These preventative measures include: cover your wart to keep the virus from spreading, don’t pick at your wart, keep your hands and feet clean and dry, don’t bite your nails, wash your hands regularly, wear shoes when in public showers or pools, and use protection during sexual activity.
  • See a doctor: there are a few reasons why you should see a doctor about your wart. If you are at all unsure as to whether the bump is a wart, see a dermatologist -- it could be a sign of skin cancer. You should also see a doctor if you have gential warts, if your wart bleeds or is particularly painful, if it is in a sensitive place like your face, if you have diabetes, or if you have a lot of warts. Plantar wart removal is best done by a doctor. Whatever type of wart you have, a dermatologist can treat the wart with a stronger acid than is available to you as an over the counter treatment. They can even perform minor surgery or use a laser to burn the wart off.

Contact Vanguard Dermatology Today

Contact Vanguard Dermatology in the greater New York City area. You can schedule a consultation with an experienced dermatologist to get your wart diagnosed and properly treated.

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