What Causes Warts?

Warts are small, virus-induced growths on the surface of the skin that occur on various parts of the body, most commonly on fingers and hands. They have a rough texture and may include some or all of the following characteristics:

  • Small, grainy bumps of flesh
  • Skin colored, white, pink or tan
  • Sprinkled with tiny black pinpoints (clotted blood vessels)

Warts are the result of a virus which can spread with skin to skin contact. While hands are the most commonly affected, the infected area depends on the individual and particular strand of the virus to which he or she has been exposed. Children and young adults are more susceptible to developing warts, as well as those with weakened immune systems.

If you are experiencing this discomfort you’re in need of Carfree Dermatology treatments. For treatment and removal of warts, contact the Skin and Cancer Center of Scottsdale at (480) 596-1110.

What Causes Warts?

Warts are caused by an infection of the top layers of the skin.

The most common types occur when an individual is infected by a virus in the human papillomavirus (HPV) family. There are over 100 various types of HPV, and only a few that can cause warts on your fingers and hands.

Other strands of the virus may cause warts to develop on other areas of the body including the lower extremities.

The HPV virus is most often spread when there are minor skin injuries or abrasions such as hang nails and scratches. Warts can spread directly or indirectly through skin-to-skin contact with an individual who is already infected or in contact with an object or item that might have had contact with a person’s wart.

Warts can be spread by sharing a towel, shoes or other items with persons who have warts.Typically, it is acquired from a common traffic area, such as a pool or locker room, or from a close contact

Warts can also spread from one area to other areas of the body.

How are Warts Treated?

Every patient is unique and your doctor may suggest one type of treatment or a combination of treatments. Treatment options include:

  • Salicylic acid, a prescription strength topical
  • Freezing (cryotherapy), a treatment that your doctor can administer in-office
  • Alternative acidic topical, which requires your doctor to administer multiple treatments over a period of time
  • Laser treatment, which kills the affected tissue causing the wart to eventually fall off
  • Surgical treatment, which can involve local anesthetic, physically scraping off the wart, and electrocautery to help ablate the wart.

What are the risks?

Most common cases of warts are completely harmless. However, there are certain types of HPV that can contribute to serious conditions such as cervical cancer. Recent research has suggested that some species of common warts can also increase risk of acquiring certain kinds of skin cancer.

If you have warts, it is important to seek treatment to help determine the type of wart you have and risks involved.

For diagnosis and treatment of warts, contact the Skin and Cancer Center of Scottsdale at (480) 596-1110.

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