Warts can be an embarrassing subject to talk about, but even more embarrassing to live with, especially when you don’t know how to get rid of them. Dr. Robert Topham is an experienced dermatology and aesthetic specialist at Holladay Dermatology Clinic in Salt Lake City. He understands what you’re going through, and offers treatment options so you can successfully banish warts for good.
Warts are contagious
Warts are an infection caused by viruses from the human papillomavirus (HPV) family and there are more than 100 types, including flat warts, plantar warts, and periungual warts. Warts can grow just about anywhere on your body, especially your hands, fingers, and all over your skin. Even if they’re not painful or bothersome, one reason to consider seeking treatment for warts is that they’re highly contagious — they can multiply on your own body or pass easily to others.
Warts can be passed between people through direct and indirect contact, such as touching the same towel as an infected person. The good news is that sometimes warts disappear on their own, but it can take months, or even years! When you’d rather be proactive than waiting for warts to disappear on their own, there are a variety of ways to get rid of them.
Over-the-counter remedies may do the trick
Many wart treatments are noninvasive and can get rid of warts quickly and easily. Over-the-counter remedies, like salicylic acid, are inexpensive and highly effective, although they may take awhile to work completely. Depending on the strength of the product you purchase, you’ll need to apply the topical solution to the wart once or twice each day for up to 12 weeks.
Salicylic acid comes in liquids, gels, and patches, so you can choose the most convenient option for ease of application depending on where your wart is located. Once the wart disappears, it’s a good idea to continue applying the salicylic acid treatment to the same area for up to two weeks after, as it may help prevent the wart from recurring (which is common).
Cryotherapy can get rid of warts even faster
Cryotherapy, or freezing off warts, is an even quicker way to get rid of them. During this in-office procedure, Dr. Topham applies liquid nitrogen to the wart and some of the skin surrounding it. The extreme cold of the liquid nitrogen actually burns the wart off permanently, although you may require more than one treatment.
Over-the-counter freezing sprays are also available if you want to attempt to remove the wart at home. The spray causes a blister to form that eventually falls off when your wart is gone and the treated area heals.
Freezing warts has shown to be especially effective for permanently removing warts from your hands, which is wonderful, since unless you regularly wear gloves, your hands are visible most of the time. Cryotherapy can save you the embarrassment of an unsightly hand wart.
Try prescription topical treatments for warts that don’t respond to other therapies
In some cases, for recurring warts or warts that don’t respond well to other treatment methods, prescription topical medications may work. Immunotherapy medications sometimes work best on stubborn cases since warts are connected to how your immune system wards off viruses.
Electrodesiccation and curettage may be a last resort
In this treatment option, Dr. Topham uses a special electric needle to dry the wart and then scrape it off your skin. This is done under local anesthesia, so you won’t feel any pain during the process. Since this procedure is a bit more invasive than other methods, you may have some scarring after the treated area heals completely.
Ultimately, getting rid of warts can save you embarrassment, but it can also help minimize the risk of spreading warts on your own body or to someone else. If you have warts or any other skin irregularities you are concerned about, call to make an appointment with Dr. Topham and the expert dermatology and aesthetics team at Holladay Dermatology Clinic.