What You Need to Know about Warts

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What You Need to Know about Warts


Verrucae, more commonly known as warts, is a benign dermatologic disorder that is caused by the human papillomavirus and affects 7-10% of the population. There are two different types of warts – common(verruca vulgaris) and plantar (verruca plantaris). Common warts are irregular in shape, domed, and rough in texture. They are typically found on hands, although they can occur anywhere on the body. Plantar warts are flesh-colored and can appear as calloused lesions on the bottom of your feet. While they typically show up from ages 12 to 16, plantar warts can occur at any age.

When it comes to treating warts on your own, the only types for this are common warts and plantar warts (only if this type isn’t causing pain). Some nonprescription treatments include salicylic acid and cryotherapy products containing dimethyl ether and propane. The ultimate goal in treating warts is removing them without creating scars, in addition to preventing reoccurrence and the spreading to other areas of your body or someone else. Those with diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, immunodeficiency disorders, and those on immunosuppressive agents should never use these self-treatment products without the permission of a primary care provider.

Before purchasing an over-the-counter wart product, ask your pharmacist is self-treatment is the best option for you. When treating the wart(s), wash your hands before and after coming in contact with the wart; this will decrease your chances of transmitting it to other areas of your body as well as to other people. Use a separate towel when drying the wart(s) so you aren’t at risk of developing warts on other areas of your body. Call your physician if the wart(s) is still present after 12 weeks of self-treatment, especially if you’re experiencing infection, swelling, pain, and/or irritation.