Warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) and form small, non-cancerous growths on the body. The skin at the affected area becomes hard and thick as the virus causes extra cell growth. They are generally non-painful and rarely require medical intervention.
The first type of wart is the common wart. These warts are flesh coloured and appear most frequently on feet, fingers, and hands. Like most warts, they are small and range in size from a speck to a pea and stand out from the skin.
The next type of wart is a plantar wart which, unlike the common wart, grows into your skin, making it appear flat. These warts are tough and thick, and most people often mistake them for calluses at first. What gives them away as warts are the black dots that appear on the surface.
As mentioned before, warts rarely require medical intervention. Your body naturally builds up a resistance to fight the warts off, but unfortunately, this process can take up to two years. Depending on the type of wart, it may take longer, and what is strange is that some warts never go away at all unless through medical means.
For those who want a quick fix and don’t want to wait the two year window, here are a list of solutions, both over-the-counter and not to help fix your warts.
Peeling Products: The products can be purchased over the counter and thus don’t require a prescription. They come in the form of gels, liquids, and pads that have salicylic acid as an ingredient. This acid peels away the dead skin cells and gradually dissolves the wart when it reaches the root. These products work best when you soak your wart in warm water, sand it with a disposable nail file or something similar, and then apply the product. However, this process can take several months and you need to be persistent.
Duct Tape: Yes, this one actually does work. Much like the peeling products, this one works best if you soak and sand your wart down first. The duct tape peels away the layers and kick starts your immune system to fight it off. This process take much less time (around 4 weeks), and is recommended to repeat every 5 to 6 days until the wart has disappeared entirely.
Cryosurgery: This method is recommended for adults or older children as it can be quite painful for a few moments while the wart is being removed. Some describe it as a stabbing pain because the nitrogen that is used is so cold.
While there’s no permanent prevention for warts, you can decrease your likelihood of contracting them by washing your hands after treating your warts, keeping the affected areas dry, not picking or scratching your’s or anyone else’s warts, and by wearing protective footwear when in public places such as locker rooms, showers, and public pools.