Common warts are benign (non-cancerous) skin growths that often appear on the fingers, hands, and feet. With the exception of plantar warts, most common warts only grow into the top layer of skin. They often appear as rough, calloused, skin-colored growths, but can sometimes present as brown, gray-black, and smooth. Some warts can be sexually-transmitted and appear in sensitive areas, including genitalia and on the face.
What causes warts?
Warts are caused when the virus human papillomavirus, or HPV, infects the skin. The virus often enters the skin through cuts and scrapes, which is why many children develop warts. However, the virus may infect the skin of people of all ages, even in the absence of an abrasion. If you are experiencing an unsightly wart on your body, visit us for wart removal San Diego!
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Tips for Preventing Warts
Warts are contagious infections that spread by touch. People get warts by touching other peoples’ warts, or by touching a shared object, such as a towel. Some warts develop months after exposure.
Although there is no definitive way to prevent warts, you can reduce your risk by taking the following precautions:
- Avoid direct contact with warts, including your own.
- Avoid irritating or picking at warts.
- Avoid direct contact with shared objects such as socks, shoes, and towels.
- Keep open wounds moist and covered with a bandaid and vaseline. This acts as an occlusive barrier that will help protect the wound and prevent infection.
- Maintain good overall hygiene, including washing your hands frequently.
These conservative measures will not always prevent warts, but they can certainly reduce your risk.
When Should You See a Doctor?
See your doctor if:
- Your warts are painful, irritating, or interfere with your daily living.
- Your warts are changing in size, shape, or color.
- Your warts are persistent, recurring, or spreading.
- You have a large number of warts
- You are unsure if the growth is a wart.
Although many warts can be diagnosed clinically, your doctor may perform one or more tests to determine if your growth is a wart. This includes shaving off the top layer to examine the wart or taking a biopsy sample to be analyzed in a laboratory
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Wart Removal San Diego: Treatment Options
Although warts are harmless, they can be irritating, bothersome, and embarrassing. Many people choose to treat warts, both with home care or by visiting their doctor. Treatment depends on the presentation of your wart. You can read more about the difference between home remedies and medical treatments.
There are several medical treatments available for patients with warts:
- Salicylic Acid. Prescription-strength wart removal medications often contain salicylic acid, which works by gradually removing layers of the wart with each application.
- Cryotherapy. Cryotherapy involves your doctor applying liquid nitrogen to the wart, which will form a blister. The dead tissue will usually fall off within a week. Multiple treatments may be necessary.
- Laser Therapy. Laser therapy is used to destroy the small blood vessels that supply the wart. Without fresh blood, the surrounding tissue dies and the wart falls off. Multiple treatments may be necessary.
Electrocauterization. Minor surgical procedures such as electrocauterization are used for definitive treatment. This involves your doctor using a cautery pen to heat up the wart, which effectively destroys it. Generally, only one treatment is required for complete removal. This procedure often produces a small scar, but the risk of this is minimized by applying scar recovery creams and following your doctor’s after care instructions.
Are you ready for a wart removal San Diego consultation? Contact us today to schedule your appointment with Dr. Mann!