What to do about Warts?Mar 13, 2023
Warts may not be the most glamorous topic of discussion when it comes to our skin, but they're more common than you might imagine! Have you ever noticed a small, skin-colored bump and wondered what it was? Warts are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV) and affect millions of people worldwide. Even though medical science has not yet figured out why some people get warts, or more than others, experts believe that the development of warts is related to a weakened immune system.
Warts can be seen in various parts of the body, especially the feet, hands, and face. Sometimes they go away on their own as one gets older, but this can take several months or even years. Since they are highly contagious, picking at warts can spread the virus to other parts of your body, making them even more difficult to treat.
Warts are classified based on the subtype of HPV:
- Common warts
- Plantar Warts
- Genital Warts
- Flat Warts
The stigma surrounding warts can affect a person's self confidence, especially if they are located in a visible area such as the hands or feet.
How to treat warts?
1) Do nothing
Yep, that is a totally viable approach if the wart is not bothering you. Dermatologists tend to say that 80% of warts will be gone in 5 years. But that does leave 20% still there!
2. Salicylic acid, ideally 40%
This is the highest strength you can get over the counter so be sure to turn the package over to see the strength of the active ingredient. Apply a small amount to the warts and cover with tape. Repeat this nightly for several weeks to months until the wart clears. Before each application, file the top layer of the wart as that removes the dead skin cells and helps the medicine penetrate better.
2) Cryotherapy with liquid nitrogen
This option requires going to see your dermatologist every 2-4 weeks for several treatments. Each wart is frozen in the office and this destroys the virally-infected cells. This treatments don't feel great and each wart has to be treated individually.
3) Revving up the immune system with candida antigen injections
Injecting a small amount of candida antigen into a wart stimulates the body's immune system to recognize and attack the virus that causes the wart.This treatment is great because it only involves treating one wart and then relying on the body's immune response to clear the other.
This is a topical cream that revs up the body's immune system when applied. It work wells on genital warts which are found on more sensitive and delicate skin.
Whether you have a single wart or a cluster of warts, their appearance and discomfort can be both physically and emotionally challenging. However, it's important to remember that with the right guidance, avoidance, and treatment, you can get rid of these pesky lesions!
Check out my latest podcast with Dr. Luke Johnson where we discuss everything you need to know about warts and the different treatment options available.
New podcasts are released every Tuesday.