What Is a Wart? Myths & Treatments

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Warts are among the most common skin conditions we see in our practice on a weekly basis. They are also rich in urban legend. The truth is, warts are not the result of coming in contact with a frog. And you cannot make a wart go away by dipping it in yogurt, rubbing it with a penny or covering it in duct tape.

At Skin Wellness Dermatology of Alabama, we offer a variety of successful treatments for wart removal. While some warts resolve spontaneously, others are at risk for multiplying and becoming painful over time. We believe it is best to treat warts as they show up on the skin to avoid complication.

What Is a Wart?

A wart is a viral infection that is spread by touch, presenting most characteristically on the extremities—the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, arms and legs. Warts can also show up as small white bumps clustered on the cheeks, forehead, neck, arms and hands (flat warts) or as pointy growths on the face (filiform warts).

Once you have the virus that causes warts, you will always carry the ability to develop warts on the skin. As we mature, our immune system learns how to keep outbreaks under control. For many of our patients, warts have grown deeper into the skin and are intruding upon nerves and pressure points. This can make simple daily tasks like walking uncomfortable.

Treatment Options

Our doctors at Skin Wellness Dermatology have found that successful treatment of warts requires frequency. The quickest, easiest way to treat a wart is with cryotherapy, freezing the skin with a cold substance like liquid nitrogen to make it lift, blister and peel. Canatharone®, also known as “bug juice,” has a similar effect. You will want to receive treatment monthly for four to six months to minimize the chance the wart will return. If these treatments are not effective, we can move on to other topical creams, vitamins, lasers or injections.

Cutting off a wart should be a last resort. Many of our patients ask us to remove their wart via scalpel as an easy solution. However, this is not a good first approach. Because a wart is an infection, cutting it can cause it to spread.

Helpful Details

Before you come in to one of our practices in Homewood or Chelsea, Ala., to have your wart treated, remember that scratching or picking at it will only make it spread. This releases more viral particles into areas of your skin that haven’t been previously affected.

Lifestyle choices can help us avoid coming in contact with the virus that causes warts. We advise our patients not to walk barefoot in public places. Do not shake hands with someone who has an obvious wart. Do not share towels with friends or family members. However, it is difficult to be fully protected.

If you search the Internet for how to treat a wart, you will be overwhelmed with tips and tricks. The problem is, few natural remedies have been studied in detail by medical professionals. A dermatologist-supervised treatment plan at one of our skilled practices will eliminate the risk your wart will multiply, grow or become painful over time.