Warts And All – Tackling A Skin Care New Year’s Resolution
If you’ve got warts, getting rid of them should be near the top of your New Year’s Resolutions. The good news is that unlike dieting or decluttering, proper treatment of warts is simple. Just make an appointment to see your California Skin Institute dermatologist. We’ll do the rest.
What’s a Wart?
A wart is a pale or grayish protruding bump of skin that appears randomly on a part of the body. Common visible places include the face, fingers, toes and soles of the feet (plantar warts). Warts are technically called neoplasms meaning growths of skin cells.
Warts have plagued humans throughout history and folklore remedies abound for the treatment of warts. These range from the ridiculous to the outright dangerous and mostly don’t work.
No one likes warts. They are a source of embarrassment to those who have them, whether a child or an adult. The term “…warts and all” has come to mean revealing the negative characteristics of a person or thing.
Unlike a pimple which is caused by oil plugging up a pore, a wart will not form a head that can simply be popped. Picking at a wart will not make it go away. It may cause it to become infected and multiply into additional warts alongside the original.
A wart may not be a wart at all but a warning sign of skin cancer. An important reason to see a dermatologist.
Who Gets Warts and Why
People most likely to get warts, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, include:
- Children and teens.
- People who bite their nails or pick at hangnails.
- People with a weakened immune system
That’s because a virus causes warts – the human papilloma virus (HPV). Like most viruses, it’s opportunistic. It seizes the opportunity to enter the body through cuts, scratches and scrapes. A child who scrapes a knee on the playground or an adult who nicks themselves while shaving can be vulnerable to infection by HPV. You could also get it by simply walking barefoot at a pool or the gym.
Several strains of HPV cause genital warts. These strains are transmitted through sexual contact and are classified as an STD (sexually transmitted disease). Untreated, they can lead to cancers such as cervical cancer. There is now a vaccine to prevent this type of HPV but be aware that the vaccine does not protect against all strains of HPV and will not prevent common warts.
Warts of all kinds are highly contagious. Do not touch anyone’s warts – your own, your child’s – with anything other than a disposable cotton swab.
- Maintain good health and hygiene habits to protect your immune system
- Cover cuts, scratches and scrapes with antibiotic ointment and an adhesive bandage.
- Wear flip-flops in the locker room and shower at the gym.
Why You Should Have a Dermatologist Treat Your Warts
DYI may be great for painting a table, but it is not the best approach for a contagious growth on your skin.
To eradicate warts in adults, California Skin Institute uses liquid nitrogen, a high-powered freezing chemical. It basically creates a targeted bit of frostbite to destroy the infected cell tissue of the wart. For children, we use a milder formulation and procedure.
We use the right tool and the right amount of treatment for each patient to resolve the issue as quickly as possible, so our patients can move on with their lives. Warts can be stubborn, but we can treat them if needed. Results will vary.