Common Skin Warts and Treatment

skin wartCould you be HPV infected? Wait a minute, hold your horses. I said HPV, not HIV. HPV stands for human papillomavirus and it is what’s behind most common warts.

Believe it or not there are more than 130 different types of HPVs, and 25% to 30% of them are sexually transmitted. But for the purposes of this article, I’m just going to discuss the viral strains that result in every day warts.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to have sex to become infected with HPV. Simply coming into contact with a wart on someone’s hand could cause the virus to spread. So yes HPV is contagious.

Nearly 75% of all Americans will be infected by the human papillomavirus sometime during their lifetime and in many cases it will occur in the area of their genitals.

There are several kinds of common warts. The ones that tend to form on the soles of the feet, for example, are called plantar warts. Those that appear on the face, legs, and arms are likely flat warts. And if they occur under or around fingernails and toenails, those are probably periungual warts. Here’s a little more information about them.

Plantar warts

These foot warts are generally small and look like cauliflowers. You might develop this wart as a result of being in a shower where someone else with warts has been. The virus for these warts love warm, wet conditions. That’s why places such as showers and pool areas are ideal for them to thrive. You may find that walking with plantar warts on the soles of your feet is a bit painful.

Flat warts

These are also referred to as juvenile warts because they frequently occur in teenagers. While most other warts feel bumpy or coarse, flat warts are smooth. They might match the existing skin tone and be pinksh, brownish or yellowish. Adult men and women may spot them in areas that they tend to shave frequently such as the face and legs, respectively. These warts are caused by a different strain of the HPV that causes plantar warts.

Periungual warts

These are tiny pin head sized warts that can appear around and under the fingernails and toenails. The virus that causes them enters the body through cuts and scratches. So if you’re a nail biter and become infected, now you know what likely happened.

As I mentioned earlier, there are many different types of warts and most are harmless. Of course, they can be unsightly to many people and painful for others.

The good news is that most common warts will go away on their own within a couple of years. But that’s not a guarantee. They could also linger for many years.

However, if you’re in pain or not in the mood to wait for your warts to disappear, you have options. Of course, there are over-the-counter wart removal products. But they may or may not work for your particular strain of the virus.

If nothing over-the-counter does the job, you can see a physician. A dermatologist certainly has the tools to remove warts. The three most common removal techniques include salicylic acid, laser therapy and cryotherapy (freezing).

The only potential downside to seeing a dermatologist is cost. Naturally, this issue goes away if you have the right insurance.

But if you want to save money, then you can find the same service at a local walk in clinic. Another great thing about these clinics is that you don’t have to worry about making an appointment. That’s why they call them walk in clinics. They are staffed by at least one board-certified physician and you usually don’t have to wait very long to be seen.

So in conclusion, you should know that plantar, flat, and periungual warts are harmless. However, if you see any warts around in your genital region, you should consult a physician. This could be a sign of something more serious.