Warts, otherwise known as verruca vulgaris, are an extremely common skin anomaly that’s caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Although they’re mainly a cosmetic problem, if you have warts, you may feel self-conscious and even ashamed. Could you pass them to someone else?
The expert dermatologists and skin specialists at Specialists in Dermatology treat warts at our offices in Houston, Texas, and The Woodlands, Texas. If you have warts, here’s what you need to know about them.
Warts are caused by a virus
When you find out that warts are caused by HPV, you’ll likely get upset. Isn’t HPV considered a sexually transmitted disease? Doesn’t it cause cervical cancer? Isn’t it highly contagious?
Human papillomavirus isn’t just one virus: It’s a family of viruses that comprise about 150 varieties. The type of HPV involved in warts causes the keratin in your skin to build up, creating little mounds of hard flesh on affected areas, usually your hands or feet.
Warts are contagious
Although warts are benign and aren’t serious, they can be highly contagious. You probably caught your warts from another person, through skin-to-skin contact.
You may have also caught warts from a public area. For instance, you could pick up warts if you walk barefoot at a public pool or if you use a towel or bath mat that someone with warts used before you did. You can even become infected with warts in a public bathroom.
Damaged skin is susceptible to warts
If you have a cut on your foot or hand, you’re more likely to be infected with warts when you’re exposed to them. Scratching your skin or shaving just before or after being exposed to warts increases your chance of getting them. Even wet skin is more susceptible to HPV infection than dry skin is.
You can spread warts to yourself, too
Not only can you spread warts to other people, you can spread them to other parts of your body, too. If you have warts, avoid touching other areas of your body.
Warts usually disappear on their own
If you don’t treat warts, they usually take about a year or two to disappear on their own. However, you can have them removed if you don’t want to wait. Contact your dermatologist immediately if your warts:
- Are painful
- Are hot
- Feel tender
- Change in color or shape
Feeling embarrassed, self-conscious, or fearful of spreading warts is enough reason to remove them. Contact us if you’d like to safely and quickly remove your warts or if you’re unsure that you have warts or another skin condition.
Warts can be treated, not cured
As is often the case with viral conditions, once you have warts, you have them for life. Even after you remove them, they will recur.
However, you don’t have to suffer the pain and embarrassment of warts or wait for years before they clear on their own. At Specialists in Dermatology, our experts remove warts with several methods:
- Freezing with liquid nitrogen (i.e. cryotherapy)
- Scraping them off with a special scalpel (i.e., curettage)
- Peeling them off with chemicals, such as salicylic acid
If you’re ready to have wart-free skin, contact us today for treatment. Call the Specialists in Dermatology office nearest you, or fill out our convenient online scheduling form.