Warts are very common and are caused by infection of the skin by the human papilloma virus (HPV). There are several different types of warts caused by numerous different strains of HPV. Warts most commonly appear on the hands, feet, genitalia, face, and legs but can appear on any part of the body. There are no specific medications that directly kill HPV. Also, the normal appearing tissue surrounding the wart is also usually infected with the virus. The treatments available for warts are aimed at both destroying the infected wart tissue and stimulating an immune response to help your body fight off the virus. Furthermore, the virus is able to “hide” in the most upper layers of skin to avoid your immune system. This makes the treatment of warts very difficult and often frustrating for both patients and doctors. Multiple treatments are usually needed and are successful only about 75% to 80% of the time.
One-fifth of all warts disappear within six months, and two-thirds are gone within two years. However, if your wart doesn’t disappear, or if it’s unsightly or uncomfortable, you should seek infected wart treatment at DermaBlue. If you have diabetes or a weak immune system, it is recommended to avoid self-treatment and instead follow up with your provider at DermaBlue for infected wart treatment.
If you decide to treat your own wart or are instructed to help treat the wart with home care, start with one of the over the counter infected wart treatments: Compound W, Duofilm, Mediplast and Occlusal HP
First, soak the wart in water for five minutes to help the medication penetrate the skin. Then gently rub off dead skin cells with a washcloth or pumice stone. These compounds require daily treatment, often for at least several weeks. You should not reuse the same washcloth or pumice stone or you may keep reinfecting yourself with the wart virus. After applying the over-the-counter salicylic acid treatment, the area should be covered with a piece of duct tape. This will help to both adhere and penetrate the salicylic acid into the skin.
If over-the-counter infected wart treatment fails, your DermaBlue doctor in Asheville, NC, can prescribe various wart medications or treatments:
- Freezing it with liquid nitrogen
- Burning it off with an electric needle or a laser
- Applying acids to help destroy the wart
- Injecting a drug called bleomycin into the wart (which kills the virus), used for severe cases
- Injecting candida antigen to stimulate the body’s immune system to fight off the wart
- Prescribing a topical wart medication called imiquidmod (Aldara), which improves your body’s fighting capabilities.
This is mainly helpful for genital warts
Getting rid of warts takes persistence. It is in the rare situation that a wart is gone with a single treatment. Often times, your DermaBlue provider will do a treatment or suggest wart medication in the office while you continue to do at-home treatments.