A Look at Warts

Warts are small and rough growths that look like min-cauliflowers. Usually, they are found on a person's hands or feet. Generally, a wart is caused by an infection from the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Researchers also believe that stress can induce warts to grow. Warts will usually disappear after a few months, but it is possible for them to last for years. In addition, they can recur for no apparent reason. There are four primary types of warts: plantar, common, facial, and flat.

Plantar Warts

Plantar warts, which are also called verruca, are small warts that appear on the sole of a person's foot. In fact, the word "plantar" is derived from the French phrase "la plante du pied," which means "sole of the foot." In addition to their location, plantar warts are identifiable by the small black specks found on them, which will ooze blood if the surface is shaved. It is possible for plantar warts to appear on parts of the body other than the foot. The palm of the hand, for instance, is a common location for plantar warts to appear.

Plantar warts on the soles of the feet often become covered by hard skin, which forms from the pressure placed on the feet. These warts can be painful or painless, but they can be easily spread. Swimming pools and communal showers are common places for transmitting plantar warts. Sharing shoes with someone with a wart can also cause the virus to spread.

Common Warts

Common warts are usually found on a person's fingers or around the nails and the backs of the hands. They are most often located in an area where the skin has been broken from hangnails being picked or fingernails being bitten. Common warts are often referred to as "seed" warts because the blood vessels inside of them produce black dots that look like seeds.

Facial Warts

Facial warts are commonly found on adults. They are contagious and are found growing in the facial skin or in the mucous membranes. Usually, facial warts start as small, skin-colored bumps that are raised on the facial skin. These warts do not have seeds, roots, or branches but can sometimes look like a black dot from the tiny blood clots in the vessels. It is hard to determine if a spot is a facial wart and, therefore, it is best to have it examined by a specialist in order to know for sure.

Flat Warts

Flat warts, which are smaller and smoother than the other types of warts, are most often seen on women's legs and in the beard of men. They can also be located on children's faces. These warts tend to grow in groups of 20 to 100 at a time.

Treating Warts

There are a number of over-the-counter treatments that can be used to treat warts. Most of these treatments contain chemicals or acids and it can take multiple treatments over an extended period of time before improvement is seen. In addition, the treatments can be uncomfortable and can destroy the healthy skin cells found around the wart.

Common warts can also be treated by a dermatologist who "paints" them with cantharidin, which causes a blister to be created underneath the wart. The dermatologist can then simply clip the dead part of the wart away in about a week. Another treatment for adults and children is cryotherapy, or freezing. This process is not very painful and usually does not cause scarring, though it does require several treatments at one to three week intervals.

Electrosurgery, or burning, is another choice for treating warts. But, for those that have had little success with other methods for treating warts, laser treatment can be the best option. This method can be a bit more costly, but the results are far more effective.