Common Warts (Verruca Vulgaris)
Common warts, medically known as verruca vulgaris, are small, noncancerous growths that can develop anywhere on the skin and frequently appear on the hands and feet. They are usually rough, fleshy, and range in color from light to dark. Warts are caused by one of the many viruses in the human papillomavirus (HPV) family, which enter the body through small cuts and abrasions on the skin. These viruses trigger extra cell growth which results in a thick, hard outer layer of skin that often grows as a bump on the skin.
Although warts are generally not dangerous, they are unsightly and ugly, potentially embarrassing, and can be contagious. If you suspect you have a wart, seek treatment with the providers at Skin and Laser Dermatology Center, whose extensive experience will help you receive the right treatment for your condition.
Frequently Asked Questions
Anyone can get warts and each person’s immune system responds differently to the virus, so not everyone who comes into contact with HPV develops warts. The immune system often resolves warts before they appear on the surface of the skin but some people’s immune systems are more or less able to prevent the wart from occurring. The immune system of children and adolescents have not built up defenses to many types of HPV, so they are less able to prevent the formation of the warts. Additionally, people with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to getting warts because their body may not be able to fight the virus off.
If the skin is cut or damaged in any way, it is easier for the virus to enter. That is why people with chronic skin conditions like eczema, or who bite their nails or pick at hangnails are prone to getting warts.
Warts are contagious and mainly pass through direct skin-to-skin contact. Picking at warts and then touching other parts of the body, sharing razors, nail clippers, or pumice stones, and biting or picking at nails are some of the most common ways the virus spreads.
- Cryotherapy: spraying the wart with liquid nitrogen to activate the immune system
- Curettage: scraping the wart to remove layers of skin
- Cantharidine: forms a blister on the skin that activates the immune system’s response
Injections: for more recalcitrant and resistant cases, injecting the wart with an antiviral solution (called Cidofovir or Vistide®) one or more times may be necessary to resolve it.
There are over 150 strains for HPV, of which only a few cause common warts. Some strains of HPV are transmitted through sexual contact and can cause genital warts, potentially leading to cancer. Genital warts in women can potentially lead to cervical cancer and in both men and woman can lead to anal carcinoma. If you believe you have genital warts or may have had exposure to them, please schedule an appointment to see a provider in a timely fashion.
Skin & Laser Dermatology Center treats patients for all skin care concerns, including skin cancer surgery, cosmetic dermatology, sclerotherapy, laser peels, laser hair removal, hyperhidrosis, rosacea, and acne treatments.
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Dr. Bajoghli always has time for his patients, you never feel that he is rushing you and after you leave if you have any concerns he is very responsive to the point of giving out his cell phone number. I can’t say enough about him and his staff.
Nurse Rassmussen answers all of my questions, listens to my concerns, examines my skin, goes over my treatment protocol and gets me out the door quickly, but without feeling rushed, so that I can get on with the rest of my day. I have already recommended this practice to a couple of friends, and I will continue to do so with confidence.
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