If you’ve noticed the lumps and bumps of a wart on your skin, you’re far from alone. Roughly 10% of the world’s population develops one at some point, and that percentage is up to triple in school-aged kids.
While warts might seem annoying from an appearance standpoint, there are other reasons to address them early on.
Take a few minutes to learn more about warts, including why you shouldn’t let one go untreated.
Types of warts
Warts come in a range of types, locations, and sizes. Some of the most common types of warts include:
- Common warts, which are gray or brown and rough or scaly on your hands
- Plantar warts, which form in clusters on the bottom of your feet
- Flat warts, which are small and smooth and multiply quickly
- Filiform warts, which look like long threads and usually form on your face
- Genital warts, which are flesh-colored and lumpy
What causes warts
The human papillomavirus (HPV) causes most warts. While some HPV strains spread through sexual contact, most spread through casual contact or sharing items like washcloths with someone who has it.
If you have a break in your skin, such as a scrape or opening from biting your nails, HPV can invade.
Why you should address your warts ASAP
If you have one or more warts, you can rest easy for one important reason: They aren’t cancerous.
Still, ignoring a wart is never a good idea. Warts are highly contagious, which means you can develop more warts throughout your skin and spread them to others. On top of that, some warts are quite painful.
Roughly half of warts go away on their own within one year, but a lot of spreading and potential pain can unfold in that time. In addition, you may wish to do away with warts that make you feel self-conscious.
Treatment for warts
Treatment for your warts depends on factors such as the body area they affect and the type and the size. To destroy or remove your warts, we at Northstar Dermatology may recommend:
- Bleomycin, an injectable medicine
- Cryotherapy or cryosurgery, which uses freezing
- Cantharidin, a topical chemical
- Electrosurgery, which uses electrical currents
- Surgery to cut out the wart
- Topical prescription medication to apply at home