What are Warts?
A verruca is another name for a wart. It is a growth on the epidermis — the outer layer of skin, which is caused by human papillomavirus and can be transmitted by contact. The infection can result from touching someone else’s wart or reinfecting yourself by touching your own warts, which is referred to as autoinoculation. Warts on your hands or feet are called common warts and ones on the soles of your feet are called plantar warts. Genital warts are venereal and can be transmitted from sexual contact. Warts are usually insignificant, coarse, and hard bumps that are close in color to the surrounding skin. Most importantly, by definition they are not cancerous, so if what you have spotted on your skin is indeed only a wart, there is not usually cause for concern. However, if they start to bleed or suddenly start changing size or color, you may want to schedule an appointment with Skin Cancer Consultants of Dallas, Texas. Our team of board-certified medical professionals is equipped to diagnose and treat a variety of skin conditions ranging from noncancerous to malignant.
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While warts can be contracted by exposure to the human papillomavirus, there are other factors which can exacerbate infection. Using public showers, for example, can increase your risk of being exposed to the virus, also called HPV. If you have a section of skin that is damaged slightly, HPV may use that as an infection point. Most people do get exposed at one point or another in their lives, with up to 13% of the population having to deal with them. Younger people generally get more exposure, while exposure rates amongst sexually active women is 12%.
Types of Warts
People have been living with warts since before Hippocrates first noted them in 400 BC. One kind is mosaic warts, which are clusters of plantar warts on the soles of your feet or the palms of your hands. Periungual warts are groups of warts around the fingernails that look like cauliflower. Plantar warts can hurt since they are on the pressure points of your feet. Filiform warts have a distinctive shape, looking more threadlike or fingerlike. They occur especially on the eyelids or lips. Venereal warts occur on the genitalia. Flat warts are small, smooth, and flattened. They can be flesh colored and occur in large numbers on the face, neck, hands, wrists, and knees. Finally, the raised and rough common wart can occur anywhere, and is also called a Palmer or Junior wart.
There are several accepted methods for treating warts. Extensive research has shown that topical treatments containing salicylic acid are very effective. Parents can treat their children at home by applying solutions, although it may take several weeks for results. Warts can also be painted with a medical solution and medically clipped off in a couple weeks. Cryotherapy (freezing) is one of the preferred methods for wart removal. While not very painful, it can leave a scar. Burning them off with electrosurgery is another standard option. Laser treatments can be used for particularly resistant warts.There are also different types of medications that can be injected into warts.
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Worry-Free Wart Removal
Be careful when attempting to treat warts yourself with over-the-counter remedies. While there is a chance that the active ingredient concentration may not be high enough to be effective, occasionally patients mistake a skin cancer lesion for a wart, so you may end up exacerbating the site instead. Folk remedies, while popular, may not be effective at all. Research is constantly advancing the treatment of warts from a scientifically safe and sound methodology.
In the meantime, we advise you to leave nothing to chance by calling Skin Cancer Consultants for a consultation and at least get some good advice and excellent care from our team.