How to Detect a Wart and What to Do About Them

Close up of husband and wife's hands How to Detect a Wart and What to Do About Them

Warts are a common skin concern that your dermatologist can treat. These skin growths most often appear on the feet and hands. If you suspect you have a wart, here’s how you can detect the issue and clear up your skin.

How to Detect and Treat Warts

How to Detect Warts

Warts are harmless skin growths that develop in the epidermis. These spots of growth are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). The virus typically enters the body through breaks in the skin and triggers rapid skin cell growth, which appears as warts.

There are a few types of warts that you might experience:

  • Common Warts: Common warts are rough and raised skin growths that most often appear on the hands and fingers. These warts are typically light or gray-brown in color.

  • Plantar Warts: Plantar warts appear on the bottom of the feet. These warts are flat and brown, gray, or light in color.

  • Flat Warts: As the name suggests, these pink warts are flat or slightly raised. Flat warts most often appear on the hands, shins, and face, often in clusters.

If you think you might have a wart, be sure to make an appointment with your dermatologist. Warts may disappear on their own eventually, but this can take at least a year or more. Your warts may be uncomfortable and embarrassing in the meantime. Quick treatment is the best way to clear the warts from your skin.

How to Get Rid of Warts

When you arrive at your dermatology appointment, the doctor will examine your skin and determine whether you actually have a wart. If they diagnose you with a wart, they will then recommend treatment. This might include a combination of in-office treatments and home remedies for warts.

Some of the most effective in-office wart treatments include:

  • Cryotherapy: During this treatment method, your dermatologist will apply liquid nitrogen to the wart. This will cause the wart to blister and eventually fall off. You might feel some pain during and after treatment, and some warts will require more than one treatment.

  • Salicylic Acid: Acid peels remove the layers of a wart until it’s gone. Most people require repeat treatments to see results. While salicylic acid is the most common acid used, your dermatologist might use trichloroacetic acid instead.

  • Surgical Removal: If your wart requires surgical removal, your dermatologist will apply a local anesthetic to the area and scrape the wart out. Electrosurgery is another surgical option, which involves burning the wart with a heated needle. Your dermatologist will likely only choose this treatment option if cryotherapy and acid peels aren’t effective.

  • Laser Treatment: A less common wart treatment, laser therapy involves burning the wart tissue. This treatment may cause scarring.

While in-office treatments are more effective at removing warts, dermatologists may recommend at-home remedies as a supplement. This may include using over-the-counter salicylic acid wart medications or at-home freezing kids. It’s important that you follow the instructions on these home treatments to avoid damaging your healthy skin.

As you wait for your wart to clear up, try to avoid touching or picking at the wart. Scratching and picking can potentially spread the virus to other parts of your body. Wash your hands regularly and avoid sharing shoes, clothes, or towels with others.

Dealing with a stubborn wart? The team at Pacific Dermatology Specialists offers wart removal as one of our medical dermatology services. Located in Whitter, CA, and other communities around the Greater Los Angeles area, our skin experts provide cosmetic, medical, and surgical skin treatments to support your skin needs. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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