Whether children or adults, most people get warts on their skin at some point in their lives. Warts are small growths on the skin that develop on the feet, hands or face. Even though they are benign and do not pose a health risk, it is advisable to have them treated by a specialist doctor.
Warts are little infections caused by a virus from the papillomavirus family. They appear on the surface of the skin, the epidermis, and form small growths of rough skin. White or pinky red in colour, warts are relatively contagious.
What makes them different is that they can appear on different parts of the body. They are seen as vulgar when they appear on your hands, specifically on the phalanges, fingertips and nails. Plantar warts are situated on the soles of the feet, around the heel, the metatarsals or the toes. Sometimes warts, called condylomas develop on the genitals. When warts appear in the contours around the eyes or mouth, they are called filiform warts.
Warts pose no health risk and they disappear on their own in most cases. But if warts become bothersome or painful, there are treatments to deal with them.
Warts are viruses that can be easily transmitted. There are two ways of catching a wart. Firstly, if the virus comes into direct contact with your skin. If the epidermis has small lesions such as cracks or cuts, the person can absorb the virus more easily. Secondly, the virus can be transmitted indirectly via objects or surfaces that have been contaminated by people carrying the virus (floors, towels, shoes, etc.).
There are more than 70 possible strains of warts. When the body catches the virus, it lodges in the epidermis. This causes an excess of epidermis to form, creating a rough lump of skin.
Warts are also able to spread to different areas of the same body. If there is itching, the patient increases the risk of spreading warts around the area.
Warts: possible treatments
There are different possible treatments to get rid of warts. All these treatments are carried out by a dermatologist.
It is possible to treat warts with salicylic acid, which has antiseptic properties. This allows the virus in the epidermis to be gradually destroyed.
It is also possible to use cold to shrink warts that have developed. To do this, dermatologists use liquid nitrogen at a temperature of -196°C. The nitrogen is applied for around 5 seconds onto the lump formed by the wart. The cold burns away the tissues and the virus is destroyed. In a few days, the wart should have completely disappeared.
However, these two solutions are not always very effective and the treatment can go on for a long time without satisfactory results. Fortunately, cosmetic medicine can now offer techniques to get rid of warts quickly and thoroughly (CO2 laser, Plexr®).