Concerned about warts for yourself or your child? We can help.
Warts are contagious.
Warts are a common skin lesion caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV can infect skin and mucous membranes causing warts. Warts can present as single or multiple skin lesions that are often bumpy and rough in appearance. There are over 150 distinct HPV subtypes, and some tend to cause warts in specific sites on the body. Typically, we treat three types of warts: common warts, plantar warts (on the soles of the feet) and flat warts.
Anyone can get warts, but they are often seen in children. Patients with dry skin and eczema also are more likely to get warts because HPV can penetrate dry and cracked skin more readily.
Warts are contagious. They are spread from person to person by direct skin contact and contact with infected objects. For example, warts can be spread by:
- Scratching a wart and then touching another skin area.
- Touching a towel that was used by an infected person.
- Walking barefoot in a shower where a someone with a plantar wart has walked.
Typical Treatment Options
Despite the fact that HPV is not curable, we can certainly treat your warts! We do this by either destroying the infected tissue, or enhancing your body’s own local immune response. Depending upon the site and the severity of the outbreak, our typical treatments options for warts include:
- Salicylic acid
- Trichloroacetic acid (TCA)
- Candida injection
What you can expect:
- We may use a sterile blade to lightly scrape off dead skin cells on the top of the wart. This helps the treatment penetrate better and helps get rid of infected tissue.
- We may apply topical medication to the wart, or perform cryotherapy, or both. These treatments will cause the area to blister in 1-2 days. Blistering causes the infected skin to dry up and peel off after 4-7 days.
- We will provide self care instructions.
- The treated area may be lighter in color and take several months to return to normal, but usually does not scar.
- We will ask you to return in 2-3 weeks for follow up.
Other Treatment Options
Depending on the size and location of the wart, we may suggest other treatment options:
- Electrodesiccation and Curettage: An in-office surgical procedure that removes the infected tissue completely. We will the numb area, then lightly burn and scrape the wart tissue until all infected tissue is gone. The resulting wound will heal in 3-4 weeks.
- Topical creams such as Imiquimod, to modulate the immune system and treat larger areas with many warts.
- Candida yeast injection, which is thought to initiate a local immune response to help your body fight the wart.
Many patients with warts ask us if the HPV vaccine (Gardasil) will cure their warts. While Gardasil does protect against HPV strains that cause genital warts, it does not protect against HPV strains that cause most other warts.
Most warts are not harmful and will often go away on their own. However, because they are contagious and can be unsightly or uncomfortable, we recommend treating them. Call us at (303) 604-1444.