What are skin warts?
Skin Warts are a type of growth found on your skin. They’re hard growths and are rough, they can be found anywhere on the body although they are most commonly found on the fingers, and below the feet. The ones that are found below the feet are the ones that hurt, otherwise warts don’t hurt.
What causes skin warts?
Warts are caused by a virus called Human Papillomavirus (HPV). This virus grows and thrives in moist places like public showers, swimming pools, locker rooms and even gyms. Warts themselves are not contagious however since they’re caused by a virus, these viruses are contagious. (1)
These viruses enter a person’s skin through damaged areas on the skin. So if you have cuts or wounds on your skin, that could aid the entry of these viruses then its best to stay away from places that transmit these viruses.
It might be difficult to completely avoid warts although its best to do what you can to stay away from using public showers and pools. Warts can also spread from one part of your skin, which could result in several of them around the same area.
What are the different types of skin warts?(2)
There are three types of warts, namely :
Plantar Warts – These warts are slightly yellowish in color and are found on soles of your feet. It’s considered to be an epithelial tumor but it is not cancerous. To prevent these kinds of warts from occurring, refrain from walking barefoot around public swimming pools, showers and even in your gym. Make sure you wash your feet and wear well absorbent socks to avoid the building up of moisture.
Genital Warts – These warts appear around the pubic area in both men and women. They are not painful but can cause bleeding, and slight irritation. It’s important to wear loose intimate wear that can facilitate free airflow and reduce moisture retention.
Flat Warts – These warts usually appear on the face but can still be found on other parts of your body. They usually appear on the face due to moisture, and probably scars. It’s best to wash your face and keep it dry and clean at all times.
Even though you can’t completely proof guard yourself against these warts, there are a few precautions you can take to reduce the risk of encountering this virus.
- Wash your hands and feet and wipe them dry.
- Don’t comb over or scratch your warts
- Try keeping the area around them dry so as to avoid them from spreading.
- Stay away from places that transmit this virus if you have cuts or scars.
- Put a bandage over your wart.
It is best to go to a doctor to get your warts treated instead of doing anything about it at home. Since these viruses are contagious, by trying to get rid of them you might end up spreading them and causing more warts.(3)
There are certain procedures that are used to get rid of warts, namely:
Medication – There are certain drugs that are available in the form of creams, which you can topically apply to help get rid of warts.
Cryotherapy – This is when your doctor will use a small amount of liquid nitrogen to freeze off warts.
Cantharidin – This is an odorless fatty substance that is extracted from the blister beetle. This is applied around the wart and bandage is put on top of that, the blister helps in lifting off the wart simply. (4)
Salicylic Acid – This is a slower process that might take several weeks, but it eventually dissolves the wart tissue.
Surgery – When none of the procedures work and it’s a big enough wart, surgery is used to help remove it.
Laser Surgery– This is a procedure when an intense beam of light is used to burn and remove the wart.
If you notice any changes in the wart or other signs and symptoms that may suggest a change, its best advised visiting a doctor. Warts are not cancerous and neither do they hurt.
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