How To Get Rid Of Warts

What are warts?

Warts – also known in its medical term as verruca – are growths that appear on areas of the skin and body. They are the result of a viral infection caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). This virus targets the basal layer of the epidermis which, once having entered through a cut or break in the skin barrier, will reproduce rapidly and incorporate its DNA into the infected skin cells. 

The cells begin to mature and divide more rapidly than normal, forming a bump of thickened, hard, and infected skin cells which is what we see as a wart. 

Warts are benign (noncancerous) and often disappear on their own over time, but they are contagious. 

Why do you get warts?

Warts occur in your body because of your direct contact with the contagious HPV. It can be person-to-person or contact with contaminated surfaces. They are most likely to occur in areas nicked by shaving and can multiply and spread to other areas of the body. Surprisingly, it can take up to a year for the wart to appear for the first time.

Some warts are sexually transmitted and can grow in your private region. These warts, however, are cancerous unlike ordinary skin warts. 

Types of warts

Warts vary in structure, color, and location. The most common types are:

  • Plantar: flesh-colored or light brown lumps with small clotted blood vessels that look like tiny black dots. They appear on the soles of the feet and are usually flattened from standing and walking. The constant pressure on the feet makes them the most painful type.
  • Genital:  flesh-colored, pink, or red cauliflower-like growths that appear in the pubic area, on/in the genitals, in or around the anus. They are caused by sexual contact and often appear in clusters of three or four. They usually are not painful, although they may cause discomfort, bleeding and itching. They can cause cancer of the cervix, vulva, vagina, penis and anus.
  • Flat: smoother, flatter, and smaller warts that are often painless and commonly found on the face of children or legs of grown women.
  • Common: appear as raised bumps resulting from hyperkeratosis or the thickening and hardening of the outer layer of skin. They’re painless warts most often found on the hands. 
  • Filiform: long, thin warts that usually appear on your eyelids, armpits or neck.
  • Pedunculated: cauliflower-like bumps that appear on the head and neck, scalp and beard
  • Mosaic: grow in clusters and are most common on the hands and feet.

Can I cut off a wart?

To remove warts, some people cut them off using knives and tweezers. But be advised that cutting can lead to worsening of the infection unless done by a doctor through excision. 

What is the fastest way to get rid of warts?

Practitioners attempt to treat warts quickly but most methods require multiple treatments which include:

  • Liquid or gel: involves applying a liquid or gel containing salicylic acid or lactic acid (wart paint) to the wart. It may come as a prescription especially for stronger solutions.