What is a wart?
Warts are very common and not something you want on your body. They are small, clear or flesh-colored bumps that may be slightly painful, depending on where on the body they grow. Typically, warts grow on the hands and feet, but they can grow anywhere on the body. Their appearance has been likened to cauliflower, but can look like a small blister with a rough texture.
There are several types of warts and viruses cause them all. Warts are contagious and can spread from skin-to-skin contact, or skin-to-surface contact. You can transmit warts by walking barefoot, shaking hands, or sharing towels. Warts should be covered with a waterproof band-aid while swimming.
Warts do not need to be treated medically, but you should consult your doctor if there is any pain, bleeding, or change in appearance. If you are unsure if you have a wart, ask your doctor or aesthetician. Warts will sometimes go away on their own, but typically the require removal.
Warts can be removed several different ways, including:
Home Remedies – Place duct tape over the wart for 6 days, then soak the area in warm water for 5 minutes and then rub with a pumice stone. Let dry for 24 hours. Place another piece of duct tape over the area the next day. The wart should disappear in a few days.
OTC Remedies – The over the counter wart removers with salicylic acid will get rid of most warts. There are also dimethy-ether/propane sprays that are designed do-it-yourself removal, available at pharmacies.
Cryotherapy – “Freezing” the wart off is done with a very cold liquid applied directly to the wart. This has low risk and can be done by a healthcare professional. There is an over the counter version, which allows patients to do the treatment themselves but it should never be done on the face.
Surgery – This is not common. Warts may come back after surgery and there is a higher risk of scarring. This is done only when the wart is very big and has not responded to other treatments.
Laser treatment – A very precise laser beam is used to destroy the wart. This is not common and is done only after other treatment options have been exhausted.