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Warts: main causes and how to remove them

Warts are small, non-cancerous (benign) and usually harmless skin growths caused by the HPV virus which can occur in people of any age and anywhere on the body, such as the face, feet, groin, genital area, or hands.

Warts can appear alone or in groups and can easily spread from one area of the body to another. Warts tend to disappear without specific treatment, but the use of wart remedies can be helpful in speeding up this process.

Warts: main causes and how to remove them

Types of warts

The 5 types of existing warts, classified according to their location and morphology, are:

1. Plantar wart: This wart affects the feet and looks a little bit like a fisheye. This wart is similar to a callus, since it is usually yellowish and has black dots inside;

2. Filiform wart: This is a thin, elongated wart that appears mainly on the face or neck of elderly people;

3. Common wart: This wart is usually less than 1 cm in diameter, firm to the touch, and usually has a rough, rounded or irregular surface. It may be skin-colored, grey, yellowish, brown or black;

4. Flat wart: This is a small, flat-looking wart that appears in groups. It is soft and occur more frequently on the face;

5. Genital wart: This is a wart that appears in the female or male intimate area and may increase the risk of developing cancer. It is usually soft and pink in color.

How are warts removed?

There are different types of treatment available for the removal of warts, which include cryotherapy, cutting or burning, laser surgery, or salicylic acid and/or lactic acid remedies.

Cryotherapy is the most effective method for wart removal as it uses liquid nitrogen to freeze the virus and the wart, causing it to fall off within 1 week.

Some of these treatments should be done in the doctor’s office by a dermatologist and those that are applied at home should only be used after being checked out by your doctor, as this may not be a wart but another, more serious skin problem, and the treatment may worsen the condition even more.

How are warts spread?

Warts are spread by direct contact with other warts. Children are, generally, the most affected, as they tend to pick at the warts.

However, it is important to point out that the viruses present in warts only pass on to other individuals if they find an area on the skin to penetrate, such as an ingrown toenail scratch or a wound, for example.

Bibliography >

  • NASCIMENTO, Karla Tamyres Santos et. al.. Verrugas Cutâneas: Artigo de Revisão. Revista Brasileira de Ciências da Saúde. 15. 2; 245-248, 2011
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