The common wart is a tough, grainy bump that commonly shows up on your hands and fingers. It’s caused by a virus that’s highly contagious and passed around by touch. That’s why warts are seen so often on kids, young adults and others with undeveloped or weakened immune systems.
Warts are not really medically harmful, but you may want to have them removed because you’re embarrassed by them or they interfere with your regular daily activities. If warts are uncomfortable, there are a wide variety of home remedies available. But before taking treatment into your own hands, you should get an opinion from a trained New York dermatologist just to make sure it is in fact warts that you have and that the treatment you choose is effective and safe.
All symptoms, potential procedural/surgical options should always be discussed with your physician after a thorough consultation and examination for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.
The Whole Wart Story
Common, everyday warts are caused by HPV, the human papillomavirus, of which there are about 100 varieties, but only one that leads to warts on your hands. Another type of HPV causes foot warts, as well as warts on other body parts and in your mucus membranes. Warts spread from skin-to-skin contact, possibly through a cut in your hand or a hangnail. You can catch them by touching something, such as exercise equipment, that was touched by someone with a wart.
Still another type of HPV causes genital warts, which are transmitted by sexual contact. HPV is preventable with a vaccine that’s commonly provided to children. But even if you’ve been vaccinated, it’s still possible to develop warts after direct contact. And everyone reacts differently to the virus. Whether you are prone to getting warts or not depends greatly on the health of your immune system.
What You Can Expect
Genital warts are first symptomatic when you see small bumps on your genitals. Plantar warts and what’s termed “common” warts that show up on your hands are more likely to appear as:
- Rough when you touch them
- Flesh-colored, pink, tan or white bumps
- Grainy feeling
- Filled with tiny black specks that actually are clotted blood vessels
While it’s vital that you visit your Manhattan dermatologist when you see any of these bumps on your hands, genitals or feet, it’s especially important that before you try to remove them, you see your skin doctor if:
- You’re not sure they are warts
- You have HIV, AIDS or a compromised immune system
- The warts are causing you any level of pain
- They change in color or size
- Attempts at home treatments fail
Common Home Remedies
In most cases, warts will naturally disappear on their own, given enough time. But if you don’t want to wait, once you’ve been diagnosed by your dermatologist, it may be recommended that you try some over-the-counter remedies. Some of the more common treatments you can purchase in your local pharmacy include:
- Acidic patches or liquid compounds that contain salicylic acid. These are the most common home treatment for wart removal. Look for a treatment with about a 15 to 17 percent acid solution count. They are painless, but might sting slightly when first applied. Soak your wart in warm water for about 20 minutes and then rough it up a little with a cardboard, disposable emery board. Apply the patch or liquid drops before going to bed. Continue each night until the wart peels away.
- Duct tape. An unorthodox, but very often successful approach to removing warts is to stick a piece of duct tape on them. With your NYC dermatologist’s approval, place a piece of duct tape over the warts and leave in on for a couple days. Remove and repeat until the warts peel off with the tape.
- Freezing solutions are another option you can pick up at your local drug store. They come in liquid or spray form. Common brands include Freeze Off, Compound W, and Dr. Scholl’s Freeze Away. These solutions are highly flammable so make sure you don’t use them around an open flame, cigarettes or cook tops. The application feels really cold and once the wart is gone, you’ll have a small blister that will heal quickly.
How Your NYC Dermatologist Can Help
It can take as long as a year for home wart treatments to completely remove your warts. And they still may return. Another issue with home treatments is that while you’re waiting for them to disappear, they can spread. Genital warts especially should be treated quickly.
Depending on where your warts are located, your New York dermatologist has a number of options to remove them. At the same time, you may be instructed to continue with home treatments, especially using the salicylic acid to complement the doctor’s efforts.
- Prescription strength salicylic acid works in the same way as the lower-strength versions. Your doctor may apply the acid in the office or instruct you to continue with the stronger treatments at home. At the same time, your NYC dermatologist may choose to combine the acid treatment with freezing.
- Cryotherapy is performed in your Manhattan skin doctor’s office and also works the same way as over-the-counter methods. Since the liquid nitrogen is stronger, however, you may experience more profound blistering, pain and skin discoloration. Chances are, you’ll also have to return for multiple treatments to completely remove the warts.
- Trichloroacetic or bichloroacetic acid is an option your doctor may employ if salicylic acid and freezing aren’t making any headway. Before putting this stronger acid on your warts, your skin doctor shaves off the top of the wart. While applying the acid sparingly, you’ll feel a stinging and burning sensation. Additionally, this too may take a couple treatments once a week to completely destroy the warts.
- Laser surgery is another popular option for removing warts on your hands. The laser actually cauterizes the small blood vessels that make up the wart. Like other laser treatments, the technique is designed to stimulate your immune system to rush healing properties to the area as the wart tissue dies and falls off. Laser treatment to remove warts is not usually the most effective way to rid you of the bothersome bumps It can be painful and leave a scar. But you can discuss the options with your New York dermatologist.
Important Reminder: This information is only intended to provide guidance, not a definitive medical advice. Please consult dermatologist NYC about your specific condition. Only a trained, experienced board certified dermatology doctor or pediatric dermatologist can determine an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.
Do you have any questions about Wart Removal? Would like to schedule an appointment with an internationally recognized, award winning, dermatologist New York City, Dr. Susan Bard of Manhattan Dermatology Specialists, please contact our Midtown NYC office for consultation with cosmetic and laser dermatologist.