Warts garner little attention because patients rarely want to discuss them. But there’s no need to be embarrassed – these skin growths afflict almost everyone at some point. The good news is that with plenty of options for safe, effective wart removal, you don’t have to simply live with them. And at Gold Skin Care Center in Nashville, TN, we know how to set patients on the path to clear skin.
Will Warts Grow Back After a Wart Removal?
This depends on several different factors, including your body, the treatment administered, and whether or not the virus that causes warts, human papillomavirus (HPV), remains. To understand this better, it’s important to know all warts are caused by HPV. This infection is contagious and can spread to others after you:
- Have just touched your wart
- Share clothing, including socks and shoes, with another person
- Borrow a towel or razor someone else has used
- Walk barefoot in public showers or locker rooms
After treatment, warts may continue to grow if the therapy proved ineffective or didn’t entirely remove the wart. Additionally, if treatment required an incision to be made in the skin, that incision can become re-infected with HPV – meaning a new wart can grow. This is why it’s important to follow post-treatment instructions carefully.
No discussion of warts would be complete without mentioning plantar warts -small, hard growths commonly found on the heels and other weight-bearing parts of your feet. They are annoying to say the least: itchy, painful, and downright uncomfortable. Most people develop at least one of these warts in a lifetime and, as we mentioned moments ago, they can quickly spread to other people and/or body parts.
Plantar warts also tend to resist treatment, unless they are subjected to the FDA-cleared technology known as Swift. This system uses a probe to deliver low-dose microwave energy. That energy goes far beyond treating the wart itself; it stimulates the body’s immune system to clear away the virus as well.
What to Expect
Treatment with Swift lasts mere seconds but is proven much more effective than old methods of scraping warts and/or applying painful chemicals to “burn” them. Using a handheld tool, we target skin tissues surrounding the wart. The microwaves disrupt water molecules and create both heat and friction in underlying tissues. These effects draw in proteins and trigger reactions from your immune system.
Most of the time, your immune responses ignore warts in favor of more pressing concerns. This explains why warts are so slow to disappear on their own. But with Swift at the helm, your body’s attention is directed where it needs to be, allowing you to quickly develop immunity to the HPV strand responsible for plantar warts. In short, this treatment cures the virus and encourages your body to grow strong, healthy tissues.
Most wart removal methods are notoriously painful, but Swift is not. It requires no anesthetic, home treatment, or downtime. And you can resume daily activities immediately after. Most patients undergo a total of three or four sessions, each spaced four weeks apart to align with the body’s natural immune cycle. Once your treatment plan is complete, your skin will be free to grow smooth and clear.
This topical ointment is FDA-approved for the treatment of genital warts. Aldara belongs to the category of immunomodulators, substances that support healthy immune responses. Immunomodulators help defend against invaders by adjusting the body’s normal immune response; they essentially improve efficacy so pathogens are recognized and responded to more quickly.
With repeated applications, Aldara helps genital warts disappear in as little as four weeks. And because it supports immune functions, it also helps eliminate the virus responsible for warts – HPV.
With cryotherapy, the wart is frozen using an extremely cold substance, usually liquid nitrogen. This technique is widely administered and usually takes less than a full minute. Liquid nitrogen is commonly applied with a probe or cotton swab, although in some cases, it is also sprayed onto the wart. We may first trim the wart before treatment to eliminate excess skin.
A regimen of one to four treatments is often needed, each delivered between one and three weeks apart. Sometimes, however, a wart can fall off in as little as a few days. Thicker, larger warts generally require more time.
Vascular Pulsed Dye Lasers
During pulsed dye laser treatment, a concentrated beam of light is directed at blood vessels near the wart. The light turns to heat energy and destroys the blood vessels without harming surrounding tissues.
As the blood supply to the wart diminishes, it loses its nutrient feed, dies, and eventually falls off. Treatments can be completed in just a few minutes and do not require anesthesia. Most patients need one to three sessions to achieve the desired results.
Electrosurgery works to burn the skin that surrounds a wart. We achieve this by sending an electrical charge through a needle tip into the skin; the wart tissue in time is dried and burned until it detaches from the skin altogether. Treatment requires a local anesthetic and is ideal for up to three warts but not large patches.
CO2 Laser Treatments
Studies show CO2 laser can regulate the immune system to eliminate warts both near and far from the treatment site. This means a CO2 laser not only quickly destroys the warts it targets, but that it also kills off the virus and prevents additional warts from returning.
During treatment, the laser emits gentle heat to destroy blood vessels feeding the wart. This option is safe, highly effective, and can additionally:
- Reduce wrinkles
- Erase acne spots and scars
- Tighten sagging skin
- Balance skin tone
How Warts Develop
When you have HPV, the virus causes excessive amounts of keratin, a protective protein, to grow in the skin’s top layer (epidermis). This creates the rough, hard texture of a wart. Although most commonly found on the hands and feet, warts can develop almost anyplace, including the face, legs, and genitals. It’s important to remember warts can spread during physical contact with another person.
HPV is different from bacterial infections, such as that which causes strep throat. The latter can be identified, treated, and eradicated because it moves in a predictable pattern. Warts, on the other hand, are much less reliable. The virus responsible for them resides in skin’s upper layer, but it’s nearly impossible to know where or when you picked it up. The virus can lay dormant for years and then, suddenly, cause a wart for reasons that are not yet understood.
Why Some People Get Them
All people repeatedly come into contact with HPV, from shaking hands with someone else to touching doorknobs. Only some, however, develop warts, and that’s not easy to explain. Some people are naturally predisposed because they have weakened immune systems. Children, teenagers, and adults with conditions like anemia are at especially high risk. Certain occupations, such as meat and poultry handlers, also tend to develop warts.
Different Types of Warts
Earlier, we discussed plantar warts that exist only on the soles of the feet. They’re identified as being rough and spongy, and they’re usually flat from being walked and stood on. In appearance, they are gray or brown with dark flecks and may exist as a single wart or in clusters; when the latter forms, they’re known as mosaic warts.
Common warts are also light-colored and sometimes contain dark flecks; unlike plantar warts, however, they have raised, rough surfaces and most commonly develop on the hands. They can, however, occur on almost any body part, including under or around toenails and fingernails. Flat warts are smooth, pink, and smaller than their counterparts. They favor the face, hands, and shins and tend to appear in large numbers.
Stopping the Spread
It likely comes as no surprise that frequently washing your hands can prevent the spread of warts. You should also cover all cuts, even small ones, with a bandage to prevent infection with HPV. And if warts have developed on your fingers, don’t pick or bite your nails or rub your cuticles. This will keep the growths from migrating to other fingers. In addition, you should:
- Keep feet clean and dry
- Wear fresh socks every day
- File your nails with a disposable emery board
The Problem With Home Treatments
People often think they can perform wart removal at home, but we strongly advise against this. These “therapies” do not work and can delay real treatment. For instance, soaking warts in pineapple juice, applying duct tape, and rubbing warts with garlic are rooted in myth rather than science; no evidence exists to suggest they even benefit the skin, much less eradicate warts.
It’s the same with over-the-counter remedies – they rarely deliver the results they promise. Because many contain salicylic acid, care must be taken to keep these ointments off unafflicted skin, or they can cause irritation and burns. Salicylic acid is additionally not safe to use on the neck, face, or genitals.
Skip the Hassle
It’s worth noting these treatments don’t work any faster than simply waiting for warts to disappear on their own, and this process can take years. If you are experiencing embarrassment, pain, or discomfort, your best bet is to see us.
Clear Skin Can Be Yours
Although we know warts are caused by HPV, their true nature remains a mystery. We don’t, for example, understand why some people get them and others do not. What we can say with certainty is that wart removal options exist for any part of the body. From laser to freezing therapy, we can help identify the therapy most suited to your needs. Schedule your consultation today by calling Gold Skin Care Center in Nashville, TN.