You know warts — those hard, rough, little skin growths that pop up from time to time. But do you really know warts?
Dr. Robert Topham and Dr. Barry Topham do. This father-son team of expert dermatologists helps patients in Holladay, Utah, and throughout the Salt Lake City area with all kinds of skin issues, including warts. Here’s what you need to know about this common condition.
They’re caused by a virus
Warts don’t just appear on your skin for no reason. They’re a reaction to a virus — the human papillomavirus (HPV) to be exact. There are several types of warts, but they all come from the same culprit, HPV.
How did I get HPV and warts?
Because HPV is the virus responsible for a common sexually transmitted disease of the same name, you may be shocked to learn that your warts are caused by HPV as well. But don’t worry, there are more than 100 strains of HPV, and the kind that causes warts on your hands is different from the kind that passes between people during sex.
The HPV virus that gives you warts lurks in warm, wet places like in gyms, near swimming pools, and in locker rooms. If you have a little cut or scratch on your foot and you walk barefoot, the virus can easily enter the broken skin and make itself at home.
Types of warts
Warts can be tiny or big, single or clustered, flat or raised. How they look depends on what type you have and where they’re located. Here are the main types of warts:
Also called palmar warts, these appear most often on your hands, but they can pop up anywhere. They’re raised, rough bumps that may or may not be painful.
Plantar (foot) warts are rough, spongy growths on the bottom of your feet. You may notice little black dots in them that look like tiny seeds. These are actually blood vessels that have grown into the middle of the wart.
Because you walk on plantar warts, the pressure may force them deeper into your skin tissue.
Flat warts typically appear on the face. They are usually no bigger than a pencil eraser, but they come in multiples. Children are especially susceptible to them (and all warts, for that matter), because they haven’t built up a strong enough immune system to ward off the virus.
Generally found around the eyes, mouth, or nose, filiform warts have a different appearance than other warts. These are a tight group of thin growths up to 2mm long that jut out from the skin’s surface.
This type of wart forms in a cluster around and under your fingernails and toenails. If you’re a nailbiter, you might get these.
Here are some interesting facts about warts.
- One in three kids gets warts
- Only about 3-5% of adults get warts
- Warts are spread skin to skin or through contact with something used by an infected person, like razors or towels
- Most warts go away on their own in a few months or years
- You can’t get warts from a frog
Getting rid of warts
Although most warts are harmless, you might not want them on your skin. Our team can help you get rid of them, but the treatment method depends on where your warts are located and what kind they are.
Types of treatment include:
- Topical solutions like salicylic acid
- Cryotherapy to freeze off the wart
- Antigen injections to help your body fight the HPV virus
- Laser treatment
- Surgical removal
So now you know warts, and you know that you have options. If you want to get rid of your warts, give us a call or request an appointment online today.