Warts Frequently Asked Questions for Dermatologists
At the California Dermatology and Clinical Research Institute, we frequently treat patients for warts. By the time most people come to us for the treatment of this common, benign skin condition, they’ve usually been exposed to a great deal of misinformation about warts. So we’d like to clear up some of the confusion that exists about wart growth, treatment, and prevention. Take a look below at some of our frequently asked questions about warts.
How do you get warts?
Warts are caused by the human papillomavirus, a common contagion with over 100 different strains, about 60 of which result in warts on the hands or feet. When the virus comes into contact with your skin, it can cause an overgrowth of skin cells that become thick, hard, and raised. Because the virus enters the body through small cuts and scratches, warts are most likely to grow on broken skin.
What are some of the risk factors for developing warts?
People with compromised immune systems are at a much higher risk of developing warts because their bodies are less capable of fighting off the effects of the virus. This includes people with chronic, serious illnesses, such as AIDS or cancer, as well as children, whose immune systems are not yet fully formed.
Are warts contagious?
Warts are indeed contagious, but only if the virus comes into contact with an injured area of your skin. Warts can be transmitted from person to person, or from one part of your own body to another. However, it’s important to remember that because the human papillomavirus is so common, your body has likely already encountered it. Either your body is allowing warts to grow, or it has fought them off, so catching warts from another person isn’t something to be overly concerned about. If warts were really contagious, us dermatologists would be covered with them.
Why does my wart have black dots in it?
The black dots that appear in some warts are often called “seeds,” but they’re actually capillaries, or tiny blood vessels, that have grown up into it. Warts don’t actually have seeds.
Can I prevent warts?
There are certain precautions you can take to reduce the risk of developing warts. For example, wash your hands regularly and thoroughly. Keep them moisturized to prevent cuts and scratches, and refrain from biting your nails or cuticles. Also, to avoid spreading warts from one part of your body to another, it’s important not to scratch or pick at them.
Are there any effective home remedies for warts?
When used as directed, over-the-counter treatments, such as salicylic acid solutions or patches, are effective in removing warts. Alternatively, people have had success using duct tape or clear nail polish to suffocate the virus. These methods can be labor-intensive, though, and can take weeks or months to treat completely.
If I leave my warts alone, will they go away?
Given enough time, your warts will go away on their own unless you have reduced immunity due to a medication or other illness. However, if over-the-counter treatments have failed, and you’re tired of the embarrassment and discomfort of living with warts, you can seek care from a professional who may be able to help rid you of them quickly.
When do I need to see a doctor about my warts?
Most experts agree that taking a “wait and see” approach is fine for most warts. But if home remedies aren’t effective, if your warts begin to spread, or they are getting in the way of your daily activities then it's in your best interest to see a doctor who can help prevent your warts from getting worse.
How will a doctor treat my warts?
There are several ways in which a dermatologist may go about treating your warts. Common removal methods include freezing them with liquid nitrogen or burning them off with a laser or electrosurgical device. Doctors may also opt to remove your wart surgically or inject drugs to strengthen your immune system and help your body fight off warts on its own.
California Dermatology & Clinical Research Institute Offers Warts Clinical Trial Research
At California Dermatology and Clinical Research Institute, we currently have a clinical trial underway to find more effective and less destructive methods of wart removal. Additionally, we have over twenty years of experience treating a vast array of skin conditions, including warts, using the latest innovations in dermatology.
If you’re looking for a new way to get rid of your warts, contact us at (760) 203-3389.