Warts are benign (i.e., non-cancerous) skin growths that can appear anywhere on the body – including the mucous membranes. While warts usually manifest as skin-colored, raised, and crusty lesions, they can also appear brown, gray-black, flat, smooth or scattered with black dots. While benign, these unsightly bumps can be uncomfortable to live with, particularly if they grow on the face or other visible parts of the body.
For effective diagnosis and wart removal treatment, do not hesitate to schedule an appointment at Old Metairie in New Orleans.
What Causes Warts?
Warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) and are highly contagious. Warts can be spread by wart-to-skin contact and by touching an object that has touched a wart. You can also spread your own warts to other parts of your body. There a more than a hundred types of HPV and a few strains can cause genital warts and even lead to various forms of cancer.s are more likely to arise on skin that is damaged in some way, such as by an abrasion, burn or cut. It may take several months for the bumps to appear after contact with HPV. Wart removal treatment is determined by the size, location, and type of wart being treated. Most warts will resolve over a period of weeks to months as long as treatment protocols are followed.
Noncancerous skin growths are more likely to arise on skin that is damaged in some way, such as by an abrasion, burn or cut. It may take several months for the bumps to appear after contact with HPV. Wart treatment is determined by the size, location, and type of wart being treated. Most warts will resolve over a period of weeks to months as long as treatment protocols are followed.
Types of Skin Growths
The most common warts are also known as verruca or verruca vulgaris. These usually appear on the hands, fingers, and fingernails – especially near broken skin caused by picking at or biting nails and cuticles. They often look and feel like rough bumps that resemble cauliflower. Some verruca are scattered with black dots, which are actually tiny blood vessels; these are commonly referred to as “seed warts.”
Plantar warts appear on the soles of the feet (plantar surface). They can be difficult to treat because the pressure from walking tends to flatten them and force them to grow inward. Plantar warts may grow in clusters referred to as mosaic warts and also may be scattered with black dots. New Orleans patients often complain that these bumps are as painful and uncomfortable as having persistent pebbles in their shoes.
Flat warts tend to grow in large numbers (20 to 100 at once) and are smaller and smoother than other non-cancerous growths. Though they can appear anywhere on the body, they usually affect children on the face, men on the beard area, and women on the legs.
This rarer form of wart tends to look like long, protruding fingers or threads. Filiform warts grow quickly. They usually affect the face, particularly around the mouth, nose, and eyes.
Genital warts are caused by specific strains of HPV and develop on the external genitalia, around the anus, or in adjacent areas such as the groin or pubic regions. They may extend into the vagina, urethra, or anus. They tend to grow as a single wart or in clusters of small bumps that may resemble a cauliflower. It’s important to note that not all lumps or bumps in the genital area are considered genital warts and may indicate another condition, such as pearly penile papules or skin tags. For an accurate diagnosis and an effective wart removal treatment plan, do not wait to schedule an appointment at Old Metairie practice in New Orleans.
Learn more about skin growths at WebMD.com.
Diagnosing Unwanted Skin Growths
The board-certified dermatologists at Old Metairie near New Orleans have more than 30 years of experience diagnosing medical skin conditions and providing accurate wart treatment. Most skin growths can be diagnosed based on appearance alone, however, if you are at risk for skin cancer or if the appearance of your bumps is atypical, a biopsy will be ordered. Once the diagnosis is made, our dermatologists have a number of wart treatment options available to you, depending on the type and severity of your skin condition.
Effective Treatment Options
Warts can be an almost continuous phenomenon, with new warts appearing just as older warts resolve. Because warts are caused by a virus, they cannot yet be cured – only managed.
Warts that appear in children usually resolve spontaneously in weeks to months. Warts in adults can also resolve without treatment, but the timeline may be longer. While non-cancerous skin growths are not harmful, they can be embarrassing and are, of course, contagious. Home remedies that sometimes work include treating unsightly lesions with a topical salicylic acid.
Persistent warts should be treated by a dermatologist. Addressing them as soon as they appear can help keep your skin looking smooth and healthy. At Old Metairie, we generally use a combination of therapies for wart removal to keep your skin at its best:
Topical Antiviral Medications
The simplest and most effective way to treat warts is with topical treatments. These topical medications are safe and effective and can be applied at home. Salicylic acid is a first line treatment that helps to soften and reduce the size of the warty growth. Other topical medications, such as imiquimod, help your immune system to fight the wart virus. Retinoid creams can also be helpful particularly for treating flat warts.
Wart removal can also be accomplished by physically destroying the growth using a variety of modalities. These may include liquid nitrogen therapy, which freezes off the growth, and electrodesiccation, which uses an electrical current to destroy the blood vessels that feed the growth.
Once you’ve been infected with HPV, your risk for developing warts is ongoing. But by strengthening your immune system with therapies and a healthy diet, addressing skin growths in their early stages, and obtaining treatment for persistent warts, you can keep your skin looking healthy and clear.
Dr. Patricia Farris and Dr. Mamina Turegano at Old Metairie Dermatology can design a wart management protocol that addresses your specific needs. Contact us online or by calling 504.836.2050.
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