While warts is usually not a contagious disease, it’s a disease of embarrassing proportions. People who suffer from warts tend to avoid their friends and people altogether, especially when the warts are found on their face and other visible areas. Warts are embarrassing not only because they’re ugly to look at – there are many people who mistakenly believe that people who suffer from warts lack personal hygiene. If you’re suffering from warts, you don’t have to worry because in this article, we will walk you through the different kinds of warts, what causes them and what you can do to remove them.
Warts are really nothing more than harmless skin growths caused by the different strains of the human papillomavirus or HPV. This strain of virus works by attacking the skin and causing warts to form. In general, warts are classified into four types: common warts, foot or plantar warts, flat warts and genital warts. Most HPV infections and visible go away after some time, however, some people take time to heal. Among the four different types of warts, the toughest to deal with are genital warts.
1. Foot or plantar warts
As the name implies, foot or plantar warts appear on the soles of our feet. They grow in clusters and look like speck mosaic tiles, thus they’re also known by the name mosaic warts. Because they take on pressure from the rest of the body, they usually appear flat. They are known to be painful and cause a lot of discomfort to its sufferers. What causes plantar warts? It’s been proven that the HPV strain that causes plantar warts breed in moisture-rich areas like wet floors. Since our feet can develop cracks, this makes it easier for the virus to attack the body. You have a higher risk of contracting plantar warts when you use public showers. Thus, as much as possible, you should avoid such places because you don’t know who among the users have plantar warts.
2. Common warts
Common warts usually appears on hands. Like plantar warts, you become vulnerable when you have a broken skin or else have fine cracks on your skin, especially on the fingers or nail. Common warts on the hands have black dots on them, making them look like small seeds, thus giving them the nickname seed warts. These are actually visible blood vessels. Common warts are rough to the touch because they appear above the skin’s surface
3. Flat warts
Children are the most prone to suffering from flat warts thus this type of wart is also known as juvenile warts. Flat warts look like small pin heads on the arms, hands and knees. Sometimes they appear on the face. They appear in huge numbers, sometimes in hundreds. Flat warts are itchy and painful and can have an adverse psychological effect on children. As soon as you see flat warts, treat them right away.
4. Genital warts
Genital warts are probably the nastiest warts ever because they appear on the genital area. They are painful and itchy. They usually look like small mushrooms or flat bumps. They usually appear in the cervix area and the vagina in women, and in the groin, penis and anal area in men. Left untreated genital warts can grow into cancerous growths. Genital warts get transmitted through unprotected sexual contact.
In general, warts appear when a broken part of our skin is exposed to HPV. This explains why warts appear more often on children who bite their nails. Most HPV infections usually go away after a few months to a year. People can get infected with HPV without showing any symptoms, i.e., warts. However, there are some people who have a weak immune system and develop those nasty symptoms. Also, early detection for HPV is very difficult – you usually won’t know you’ve been infected until you see warts, which usually happens a few months after the initial infection.
To prevent HPV infections, avoid nail biting or doing something that would cause your skin to break. Also, avoid unprotected sexual contact with people you don’t know. But if ever you do get infected, heal yourself from the inside out. Boost your immune system by getting enough sleep and putting the nutrition back into your diet. Take vitamin supplements if you need to. Ask for recommendation on vitamin brands that are formulated specifically to boost your immune system. If you do it long enough, you could be HPV-free in no time.
As for the visible warts themselves, there are several anti-warts remedies you can use, including:
- Cryotherapy or freezing warts and then cutting them off with scalpels
- Over-the-counter salicylic acid which dissolves skin tissue
While freezing warts and cutting them off provides instant relief (it’s only a little painful), we think that you should only do it if you have too many warts on your skin. Otherwise, if you’re only seeing a few warts here and there, it’s better to use salicylic acid, because it’s what most doctors use in their clinics to remove all kinds of warts.
We should warn you, however, against expecting instant results with salicylic acid. Most OTC salicylic acid are formulated with only 17% salicylic acid, which makes it a safe product but the dosage does not have enough strength to cause immediate results. That said, if you’re going to use salicylic acid, make sure to use it for several weeks before expecting any results.