Warts are small benign growths of the skin, usually harmless, caused by the HPV virus, which can appear in people of any age and in any part of the body, such as the face, foot, groin, genital region or hands.
Warts can appear in groups or singly and can easily spread from one area of the body to another. Warts usually go away without specific treatment, but the use of wart remedies can be helpful in speeding up this process.
Types of Warts
The 5 types of existing warts, classified according to their location and morphology, are:
- plantar wart: They are warts that affect the feet and are popularly known as “fisheye”. They are similar to a callus, as they are usually yellowish and have small black dots inside;
- Filiform wart: They are thin and elongated warts, which appear mainly on the face or neck of elderly individuals;
- Common or common wart: They are warts that are usually less than 1 cm in diameter, are firm, and usually have a rough, rounded, or irregular surface. Its coloration can be skin color, gray, yellowish, brown or black;
- Flat wart: These are small, flat-looking warts that appear in groups. They are soft and more frequent on the face;
- Genital wart: They are warts that appear in the female or male intimate region and can increase the risk of developing cancer. They are usually soft and pink in color.
It is important that warts are evaluated by the dermatologist, as this way it is possible to verify if they are related to an infectious disease and be indicated the most appropriate treatment to remove them.
How warts are transmitted
Warts are transmitted through direct contact with these lesions. Generally, children are the most affected, as they tend to keep picking at the warts.
However, it is important to clarify that the viruses present in warts only pass to other individuals if they find a place on the skin to penetrate, such as an ingrown toenail scratch or a wound, for example.
How to remove warts
There are several types of treatment to remove warts that should be indicated by the dermatologist according to the characteristics of the wart. However, some homemade measures can also help to remove warts and complement the treatment indicated by the doctor. So, some ways to remove the wart are:
1. Use of medicines
The dermatologist may recommend the use of some creams or ointments based on acetylsalicylic acid and/or lactic acid that should be applied to the wart and help to eliminate the wart. These remedies can be applied at home, at least twice a day or as directed by the dermatologist, or in the doctor’s office.
Cryotherapy is the most used type of treatment to remove warts and consists of freezing the wart through the application of liquid nitrogen in a spray, which makes the wart fall off within a few days. This treatment should be done at the dermatologist’s office to avoid skin burns due to the very low temperature of liquid nitrogen.
3. Laser surgery
Laser surgery is indicated when the person has many warts or when they are spread and it is done under local anesthesia, as the procedure can cause pain and discomfort. Laser surgery is performed by applying a beam of light directly to the wart in order to destroy the wart tissue.
It is important that after laser surgery, the person takes some care with the wound that was left after removing the wart, because there may be a risk of infection. This recommendation is also important in cases where the doctor has cut the wart to remove it, and this procedure is called surgical excision.
4. Adhesive tape
The duct tape technique is a simple and easy way to remove the wart and is recommended by the American Dermatology Association. To remove the wart with adhesive tape, it is recommended to tape the wart for 6 days and then remove and soak the wart in water for a few minutes. Afterwards, a pumice stone or sandpaper should be applied to the site of the wart to remove excess skin.