How to Identify, Locate, and Remove Warts
Are you experiencing small, grainy bumps that appear fleshlike on the skin? Are the bumps rough and hard? If you look closely, do the bumps have black pinpoints at the center? If your answer is yes to the above questions, you may have warts.
A warts diagnosis might prompt cause for concern. However, many forms of warts are more common than one may think, especially among children and teenagers. Although warts may disappear on their own, it’s essential to understand what they are, the different types, how to spot symptoms and treatment options.
What are Warts?
At the surface, warts are small skin lesions. The lesions are an effect of the human papillomavirus or HPV. Warts often appear as small, rough, grainy patches or bumps anywhere on the body. The most commonly affected areas are the hands and feet. Warts are usually painless, but some can cause discomfort.
Warts are typically seen in children and teenagers. The National Center of Biotechnology Information (NCBI) predicts that at least 33% of people under the age of 18 will experience warts in their lifetime. In contrast, warts are only prevalent in about 3% to 5% of adults.
Although warts are a symptom of HPV, their appearance is not always dangerous though they are always contagious regardless of the type or strain.
Types of Warts
The body can fall prey to eight different types of warts:
Common Warts – Known as Verruca Vulgaris, common warts appear as small raised clusters of bumps or lumps. Like most wart types, common warts are rough to the touch. Common warts can appear all over the body. However, the most commonly affected areas are the hands and knees.
Plantar Warts – Also small in size and rough in nature, plantar warts can be sighted by extremely hard bumps, often accompanied by black centers. The opposite of common warts, plantar warts are most prevalently presented on the bottom or plantar surface of the feet. They typically grow inward, so they can be very deep.
Flat Warts – Flat warts are smoother than any other type of wart. They appear as flattened lumps mainly around the face, legs, and hands. But any part of the body can be affected. They are the most superficial type of warts.
Genital Warts – Genital warts are the most dangerous type because they are linked to a sexually transmitted disease or infection (STD or STI). Their appearance is grey or off-white bumps or lumps. It can be equated to the look of a cauliflower. This type of area occurs on the genitals, the penis or vulva, or on the anus.
Filiform Warts – Unlike other wart forms, filiform warts are long and thin instead of round and clustered. Filiform warts are typically seen on the face near the lips or eyelids.
Mosaic Warts – Mosaic warts are the last wart type. These warts are small and tightly clustered. The hands and feet are the most affected areas of mosaic warts.
Periungual Warts – Periungual warts occur around the nails, especially the fingernails. They can grow under the nails and are especially difficult to treat.
How to Identify a Wart
Spotting a wart can be difficult. The naked eye can confuse warts with calluses, skin tags, or pimples. However, upon further inspection, some unique factors help warts stand out from other skin conditions.
Although some types of warts can occur all over the body, several locations are central to warts. Warts can be typically found on the hands, feet, or fingers. Other common locations are the face, legs, knees, and genitals.
Different wart types can have different textures. Often warts are rough and tough like common and plantar warts. However, some can be scaly or patchy, like genital or mosaic warts. Flat warts are the most unique in texture. Not entirely smooth, flat warts are less abrasive.
A wart appears small and grainy. The color is usually flesh-colored. However, warts can be white or gray. Most all warts have a small black dot at their center. The dot represents a blood vessel and makes warts more easily recognizable.
Warts can be self-diagnosed. However, the best practice is to consult a board-certified dermatologist. A professional can accurately diagnose the exact type of wart you have and any treatment options or information about reoccurrence or inflammation.
Treatment for Warts
Although warts generally disappear independently, those diagnosed with warts may seek other wart removal options. There are several types of wart treatment options:
Over-the-Counter Options or Salicylic Acid – Wart treatments with salicylic acid can be in a liquid, cream, or pad state. It is most effective for common or plantar warts. This treatment option is not a cure for all wart types.
Cryotherapy – Otherwise known as wart freezing. Cryotherapy utilizes liquid nitrogen to help the wart fall off and can be successful, although it will typically require more than one application.
Laser Surgery - Like cryotherapy, this wart removal option uses lasers to attack the wart. The light is known to combat the blood vessels or black dots at the wart's center and usually requires multiple treatments.
Injections – Bleomycin or other immune stimulating medicines are injected directly into the wart. The medication may stimulate the immune system to attack the wart.
Wart treatments or wart removal products may not be a solution for everyone. It is best to seek a board-certified dermatologist to discover which treatment option is best for you.
Swift Wart Removal
In addition to standard wart removal options, Southern Connecticut Dermatology offers Swift Wart Removal Therapy with board-certified dermatologist Dr. Robin Evans. Treatments may also be prepared by our PA or Nurse Practitioner.
Swift Wart Removal is an advanced treatment option similar to laser surgery. The treatment uses low-dose microwave energy to stimulate the body's immune system to attack the wart. This treatment option is effective in 85% of individuals with several treatment sessions. Safe, effcient, and powerful, this treatment option is uniquely effective for stubborn warts.
Contact Southern Connecticut Dermatology today to schedule a consultation to discuss your treatment options for warts or Swift Wart Removal. Call (203) 323-5660 or schedule your first appointment.