Skin Treatments
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What is wart?

  • A wart is a small rough growth on the skin resembling a cauliflower. Occasionally it can be smooth and plane also.
  • It is caused by a virus named human papilloma virus (HPV).

How can one get warts?

  • The virus usually enters the body through areas of broken skin and spreads from person to person by direct touch or by touching objects used by the infected person.
  • Within the body of the affected person, it can spread from one body site to other.
  • Can spread by sharing shaving kits at salons and after beauty parlor activities.

How can the infection spread? Is it transmissible to family members or contacts?

  • It can spread by direct skin to skin touch or by sharing of objects and thereby can be transmitted to family members or close contacts.
  • Sexual transmission can occur (genital wart).

How does the wart appear?

  • Common wart: small localized swellings over the skin surface that have a roughened uneven surface and can occur anywhere including the face, hands, body and scalp.
  • Flat wart: occurs as small, smooth-surfaced, skin coloured projections usually numerous in number.
  • Filiform wart: appears as a slender finger like projection, usually over the face.
  • Genital wart: common warts that appear over the genitals in both males anf females. However, they appear more whitish and glistening and the common warts.
  • Periungual wart: a variant that occurs as a small cluster of warts with roughened cauliflower like surface around the nails.
  • Plantar wart: appears as a small whitish projection on the foot with minute black dots at the centre. It is painful, particularly when present over pressure bearing areas of the sole.
  • Mosaic wart: a group of tightly clustered plantar-type wart, commonly on the hands or sole of the feet.

What should one do if he/she gets warts?

One should consult a doctor qualified in treating warts i.e. a dermatologist.

FAQ on Wart Treatment

  • A dermatologist can easily confirm the diagnosis based on the appearance of skin lesions. No laboratory tests are usually needed for diagnosis.
  • Rarely, when the diagnosis is less certain, the doctor may do a skin biopsy, and examine them under a microscope to confirm the diagnosis.
  • Warts can be treated by both medical and procedural treatments.
  • Salicylic acid
  • Lactic acid
  • Imiquimod
  • Podophyllotoxin
  • 5-FU
  • Cryotherapy
  • Radiofrequency cautery
  • Lasers
  • Surgical excision
Wart can be cured. There are chances that they may recur after a course of treatment, but eventually they respond to treatment.
  • Wart of very large size that remain untreated for a long time and genital wart can lead to cancer of the skin and genitalia.
  • Warts over the genitalia are highly contagious. Partners should practice safe sex methods such as using condoms.
  • Sometimes blood tests are needed in case of genital warts to rule out concurrent sexually transmitted infections including HIV.

Recombinant human pappilomavirus vaccine is a vaccine designed to prevent cervical cancer and genital wart but it does not prevent common warts.