A wart is a skin growth caused by a group of viruses called human papillomavirus. It infects the top layer of skin, causing a growth that forms a wart. Warts can grow on any part of the body. Plantar warts grow on the soles of the feet.
Warts may go away on their own in months or years. Treatment to remove them is fast, safe, and effective.
Yvonne Hines, MD, of Hines Dermatology in Attleboro, Massachusetts, is a leading dermatologist who is devoted to helping you keep your skin healthy. Dr. Hines diagnoses and treats a full range of conditions that affect the skin, including warts. Whether you have a simple skin issue or something complex, Dr. Hines can help.
What are warts?
Most warts are harmless. They come in a broad range of shapes and sizes. Warts on areas such as your face can affect your confidence, while warts on the hand can be an annoyance. Some warts are flat and smooth. Others may be bumpy with a rough surface.
It’s important that you avoid attempting to remove a wart yourself. Warts receive blood from tiny blood vessels that grow into the core. Attempting to remove a wart on your own can result in bleeding and scarring.
How do warts spread?
Warts are contagious easily through contact with anyone who has human papillomavirus. You can infect other parts of your body by touching the wart and then touching another body part. Sharing personal items like towels can spread the infection.
Diagnosing and treating warts
Dr. Hines can tell if a skin growth is a wart by examining it. If the growth is suspicious, Dr. Hines may take a sample to study more closely under a microscope. Sometimes growths that you may mistake for a wart may be something serious such as skin cancer.
Most warts won’t need treatment unless they’re painful, bothersome, or you’re affected by the way they look.
Dermatologists treat warts in the following ways.
Salicylic acid (SA) is often the first choice in removing warts. This topical treatment is applied directly to the skin. SA, an ingredient in aspirin, works by sloughing off the outer layers of the wart.
Warts can be removed by freezing them. Cryotherapy usually takes multiple treatments spaced over 2-3 weeks. After the skin has healed, Dr. Hines may recommend using salicylic acid to promote skin peeling.
Warts that don’t respond to other options may be treated with electrosurgery. This involves scraping away the wart using a device with an electric needle.
Laser energy can be used to remove warts. Pulsed dye lasers are the main lasers used to remove warts. The light energy penetrates and destroys the tiny blood vessels that provide blood supply to the wart. Without blood, the wart shrinks and dies off.
Topical immunotherapy with the medication Aldara may be recommended if you have warts that are spreading or resistant. This clever way of removing warts involves injecting a skin antigen that provokes a response from your immune system, which reacts to destroy the wart.
Help for warts
If you have bothersome warts, treatment is available. To get started and for all of your dermatology needs, contact us at Hines Dermatology by calling or booking online to schedule an appointment.