Warts are usually not dangerous, but they can be embarrassing. Even if the warts are only on your hands, they can make you feel self-conscious. Warts can appear any place on your body such as your face, fingers, and feet. Sometimes they grow in areas where your clothes rub and they become irritated. If you have a wart that bothers you, talk to your dermatologist about having it removed. Here are some treatments that might help.
Freezing, or cryotherapy, is a common method for removing warts. Your dermatologist applies a very cold substance such as liquid nitrogen to the wart to freeze it. Cryotherapy can be painful and you may have discomfort for a few days after the treatment. Eventually, a blister will form under the wart and the wart should fall off. However, it may take a few treatments spaced a few weeks apart for the wart to go away.
You can also buy over-the-counter freezing treatments to use at home. You might be able to use one of these if the wart is on your finger and easy to treat. If the wart is on your face, you want a dermatologist to remove it to reduce the risk of being left with a scar. Also, warts on the palm of your hand or bottom of your foot may be too painful to attempt treating with over-the-counter wart removal products.
In some cases, cutting out the wart may be the best way to get rid of it. Your dermatologist will take into account the location, size, and number of warts you have when deciding on the best treatment. Pain threshold and scarring are also considered. Cutting out a wart may be more likely to leave a scar, so your dermatologist may recommend you try other treatments before surgery. If surgery is done, your doctor may use a laser or electric knife to burn the wart before cutting it out.
Cutting out a wart is the quickest way to get rid of it, but cutting out the wart doesn't destroy the virus that caused it. No matter what type of wart removal treatment you have, it's always possible the wart will return in the future.
Your dermatologist may remove your wart by covering it with a chemical solution. This medication causes a blister to form underneath the wart. The wart will gradually slough off after a few days. You may experience some discomfort during this process, and you'll need to keep the wart bandaged. A follow-up visit is required so the doctor can trim away dead skin and wart tissue once the medication has done its job. You can also buy wart removal medication over the counter and use it at home. It isn't as strong as the chemicals used by your dermatologist, so it may take several weeks for your wart to disappear.
Before you try to treat a wart at home by yourself, be sure the growth on your skin is actually a wart and not skin cancer. One reason it's a good idea to see a dermatologist (like those at Southwest Dermatology Institute) is so the wart can be diagnosed properly. Also, keep in mind that warts are contagious. You can spread them to other people and to other parts of your body. That's why prompt and proper treatment is a good idea even if the wart isn't bothersome.