Warts: Causes, Treatment, and Removal


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What are warts?

A wart is a small growth which is flesh-colored, tan, pink, or white and feels like a grainy bump on the skin. It is caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). HPV can spread from person to person by direct contact or through contact with an object that was used by a person affected by the virus. Warts can spread across the body of a person.

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How do warts occur?

Warts occur when the HPV virus comes in contact with your skin and causes an infection. It is especially easy for the virus to enter your body if there is broken skin anywhere, such as picked hangnails or areas nicked by shaving. Once the virus enters the top layer of skin through scratches or cuts the infection starts.

There are different types of warts—depending on how they look and which parts of the body they appear in:

  • Common warts: which most often occur on the hands, and are rough, dome-shaped, and gray-brown.
  • Plantar warts: which grow on the soles of the feet and are hard and thick with dark specks. They can be painful when you walk.
  • Flat warts: which can grow on the face, arms, and legs. They’re small, have flat tops, and may be light yellow, brown, or pink.
  • Filiform warts: which can grow on the face, usually around the mouth, nose, or chin. They are the same colour as the skin, but they have thread-like growths sticking out of them.
  • Periungual warts: which occur under and around the fingernails and toenails.

Warts usually go away on their own, but sometimes they can be stubborn and stick around for a long time.

Who is prone to warts?

Apart from children, teenagers and people with a weakened immune system, there are certain things people do, which can make them prone to warts such as:

  • Biting nails
  • Grooming areas with warts such as, brushing or combing, and then touching other parts of the body
  • Sharing tools with people who are affected by warts, such as combs, files, pumice stones. Even if you use the tools, for instance, the pumice stone to rub the warts on one part of your body and then use it on another part of your body, chances are the warts will spread to that part.
  • Picking on warts, which will only help the virus to spread more.

What are the causes of warts?

If you have any type of skin wart, it means that you came in contact with a wart-causing virus sometime in the past, though it could have been months ago.

What are the symptoms of warts? How are warts diagnosed?

The warts are small pulpy grainy growths or bumps on the skin. They are flesh-coloured, tan, pink, or white coloured.

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A general physician can easily diagnose a wart by:

  • examining the wart
  • gently scraping off the uppermost layer of the wart to check for signs of clotted blood vessels, which appear as dark, pinpoint dots that is common with warts
  • removing part of the wart and sending it for biopsy to rule out any other skin condition

What are the complications of warts?

The complications of warts include:

  • pain and irritation
  • malignant changes
  • poor self-confidence since it affects the appearance
  • cervical and other cancers

What is the treatment for warts?

Usually, for warts doctors prescribe some topical applications. However, if the condition is severe then the doctor may suggest these techniques:

Freezing: Liquid nitrogen is used to destroy the wart

Laser therapy: to destroy the wart

Heat treatment: such as electrocautery or loop electrosurgical excision procedures.

Surgery: where the wart is cut off surgically which may leave a scar.

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Would you like to consult a doctor for Warts ?

Questions answered by trusted doctors

Verified User
I have warts on my face..I have done a
shock treatment earlier on warts but of no use. Please suggest..
Dr. Rasya Dixit
Dermatologist, Bangalore
Warts are a common term used  to describe various types of skin problems on the face. The most common ones are viral warts, these are infection of HPV virus on the face. These are recurring. However these need to be treated as they can  spread over the face as well as body and from one person to the other.
The other conditions which are commonly confused for warts are called DPNS or skin tags. These are non infectious and are seen commonly over the face, neck and underarms and also tends to run in some families. These recurr only after s long time after treatment.
Both these conditions can only be treated by cryotherapy or radio frequency treatments ot lasers and there are no  creams which can treat them.
Do check with your dermatologist as to which kind of warts you have. If you indeed have viral warts you may need some additional creams to prevent recurrence
Verified User
I have consulted a doctor about this and he tells me i can either have electrosurgery or cryotherapy.. i don't know which one to choose..
both are accepted modalities,  equally effective, but if tissue needs to be sent for biopsy, then surgical excision is the only option , usually  done as office procedure under local anaesthesia,...for small warts
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Home Remedies

Boost your immune system

Warts are caused by a virus, so one of the best ways to get rid of them is to boost your body’s ability to fight them. Get enough sleep, exercise regularly and maintain a healthy diet.

Apply Pineapple Juice

Apply a piece of fresh pineapple or some pineapple juice directly to the wart several times a day.

Apply Garlic

Mix some fresh garlic with water and apply the paste to the wart. Re-apply this mix every few hours and continue until the wart is gone.

Tea Tree Oil

Apply tea tree oil directly to the wart, then cover with the bandage. Keep reapplying till the wart is gone.

Apply Aloe Vera

Break off an aloe vera leaf and rub the gel onto the wart. Aloe contains malic acid which can help reduce the wart.