Warts: Not from Frogs

Let’s get real: warts do not come from frogs. And, the wicked witches of fairy tale lore are not the only ones who get them. Medically, they are small, usually painless skin growths caused by an infection with human papilloma virus (HPV).

Some patients worry they have cancerous growths when they see one, but that is not the case. Most of the time they are harmless, benign skin growths that appear when the virus infects the top layer of the skin.

Fast Facts about Warts

  • Common symptoms: Warts are usually small, fleshy,  bumps that are rough to the touch. They tend to be flesh-colored, white, pink or tan, and might have black pinpoints.
  • They are contagious: Warts spread by contact and most people get them when they have contact with another person who has warts or when their skin comes into contact with a surface that may have the virus on it (such as getting warts on your feet when you ae barefoot around a swimming pool).
  • All warts can spread from one part of your body to another, and they can spread from skin to skin contact through sexual activity.
  • Takes time to show up: It can take as long as two to six months for a wart to develop after your skin has been exposed to the virus.
  • Most common types: There are several types including:
    • Common warts, which often appear on fingers
    • Plantar warts show up on the soles of the feet
    • Sexually transmitted genital warts
    • Flat warts can appear anywhere

Diagnosis

In most cases, we can tell whether you have a wart just by looking at it. In rare cases, we may need to perform a skin biopsy. When that’s necessary, we remove the warty growth and send it to a lab for analysis.

Treatments

Sometimes, warts go away without doing anything . But for those that won’t, and when over-the-counter treatments don’t give you the results you want, we can treat the warts in office and have a variety of treatment options. These include, but are not limited to, a special compounded prescription medication, paring, cryotherapy (freezing the wart), and electrosurgery (burning to remove it). For some patients, we use an injectable medication called bleomycin.

Please keep in mind that genital warts must be treated by a doctor and you should never use an over-the-counter product to treat them.

Here for your dermatological needs

Warts are very difficult to treat. Warts can return at the same site or appear in a new spot. But, worry not! We are here to help you treat them. And, as always, we are here for all your medical and cosmetic dermatologic needs.

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