One of the most misunderstood skin eruptions is the wart. There’s no end to the folktales or myths that attempt to explain this skin issue. Fortunately, modern medicine tells us what it is and why it occurs. Let’s take a look at what exactly a wart is, what causes it, and how it can be treated.
A wart is simply a rough, bumpy growth of skin. It’s often in the shape of a dome but can be flat.
Typically, a wart appears by itself, but it’s not unusual for several warts to appear together in a cluster.
The color can vary. Sometimes, it can match your skin, and on other occasions, it can be several shades darker. If you see small dark dots in the wart, it’s not dirt or debris. Those are tiny blood vessels.
Typically, warts are harmless. They can even disappear on their own in most cases.
Warts are common in childhood and appear with less frequency in adulthood.
A wart is the skin’s physical indication of the presence of a virus or more specifically, the human papillomavirus (HPV). It’s not an airborne virus, such as a type of influenza (flu). Instead, the virus that causes warts moves from person to person through touch.
The virus enters the body through any available cut in the skin. You could be especially vulnerable if you habitually have small cuts.
For example, if you touch a contaminated surface like a door handle, the HPV could enter through the broken skin on your fingers where you bite your fingernails or through a pulled hangnail.
Shaving is another common way to contract the virus. Each shaving session offers plenty of opportunities for you to nick your skin.
You can also come in contact with HPV through sexual activity. In that case, the breakout is called genital warts.
And, unlike a flu virus, a wart-causing virus doesn’t make itself known immediately. You won’t develop a wart until two to six months after exposure.
Though they’re generally harmless, warts aren’t attractive, especially on the face. That’s why patients often visit a dermatologist’s office to have them removed.
Sometimes, warts may also cause pain. If they occur near the finger joints, they might even make some of your daily activities difficult.
Plantar warts on the bottom of the foot can also be challenging as they may make it too painful to walk.
It’s also a good idea to have a professional examine your warts if you seem to be getting more than usual. There may be systemic issues at play that need to be addressed.
There are multiple treatment options for warts that we offer at Biltmore Dermatology. We offer topical solutions, surgical options, liquid nitrogen to freeze the wart away, and various other procedures to ensure any warts that are bothering you are treated or removed.
Do you have a wart that’s causing concern? Ryan Patterson, NP-C, DCNP, and our team at Biltmore Dermatology can help you treat warts and any other skin concerns you’re struggling with.
Schedule your consultation today by calling our Terre Haute, IN office or using our online scheduling tool, and put yourself one step closer to getting rid of your warts.