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Why You Shouldn't Remove a Wart on Your Own

If you’ve ever popped a pimple yourself, you may already be familiar with why dermatologists warn against it: Popping pimples damages your skin. However, when a wart crops up, your urge to take action may override your experience and good sense.

However, popping or cutting or burning off a wart yourself is far more damaging than popping a pimple. Not only can you damage your skin, you can also spread the warts to other areas of your body. And they come back. Over and over again.

At Specialists in Dermatology, our dermatologists treat warts safely and expertly at our offices in The Woodlands, Texas. If you have a wart, we have a number of safe treatments that remove your present wart and prevent new ones.

If you’re one of the 10-20% of women, men, or kids around the world with warts, resist the urge to remove them yourself. Here’s why it isn’t a good idea and what you should do instead. 

Warts are contagious

The primary reason not to remove your own warts is that they’re filled with the infectious human papillomavirus (HPV) variant that caused them. Simply touching a wart and then touching another part of your body (or somebody else’s) risks spreading the virus and the wart to that previously unaffected area.

Of course, when you cut, shave, or burn off a wart on your own, you risk spreading the virus and the warts on any exposed skin. You could develop new warts on the fingers that held the instrument or on areas that get splattered with the wart’s contents. 

In fact, if you have a wart, the first step you should take is to cover it with a bandage. That way you don’t accidentally spread the wart to other areas of your body or to other people.

You could get hurt

Even if you think you can control your wart removal by wearing gloves and taking other precautions to prevent their spread, it still isn’t a good idea. Warts are often deeply embedded into the skin.

If you try to cut it off yourself, you risk not getting the entire wart because your cut is too superficial. That, in turn, increases the chances that the damaged wart can spread. 

Conversely, if you do cut deeply enough to remove the entire wart, you risk severely damaging your skin, leaving a disfiguring scar.

You could get an infection

Not only does cutting or trying to burn off a wart yourself increase the ease with which the HPV spreads, you could develop another infection, too. Burning, cutting, or freezing your skin creates a wound. A wound is easily penetrated by bacteria and other viruses that you may encounter.

Even the tools you used to cut, burn, or apply acid to the wart could be contaminated. In contrast, a dermatologist only uses tools that have been safely sterilized.

Warts are more than skin deep

Some warts penetrate so deeply into your dermis that you can’t cut or burn them off, no matter how far you dig or burn. The only way to remove them is through professional methods, such as lasers, that penetrate the skin and target warts at their source.

It may not be a wart

If your wart is a new growth and you haven’t had warts before, you may not have a wart at all. Some skin cancers sometimes resemble warts. You could also have another type of growth, such as one caused by another highly contagious virus: molluscum contagiosum.

When you come in for wart treatment, we first take care to examine and diagnose your wart. If you have warts, we then customize a removal plan. If it’s another type of skin lesion, we treat that appropriately, too. 

Medical removal is safe and effective

When you’re so bothered by a wart that you can’t wait for it to clear on its own (it could take months), your best course of action is to find a dermatologist with experience removing warts safely and completely. In some cases, we can remove so much of the wart that it won’t grow back.

Don’t pick at your wart: Pick up your phone to call us or use our online form for wart treatment today. If you’re in The Woodlands or Houston, Texas, area, there’s a Specialists in Dermatology office near you.

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