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San Diego Wart Treatment

Warts are a common and annoying infection of the skin. They are caused by a virus called human papillomavirus (HPV). The strain of HPV depends in part on the body area affected and the subtype of wart.

Wart subtypes include:

  • Verruca vulgaris (common warts): common between the ages of 5 and 20. Frequent contact of hands with water increases the risk of developing common warts. Butchers are also at higher risk.
  • Flat warts: Most common on the face, neck, backs of hands, elbows, knees. Men who shave their beards can spread the wart virus, resulting in many flat warts in a beard distribution.
  • Plantar warts: most often occur on pressure points of the feet.
  • Genital warts: the most common sexually transmitted disease. This type of HPV infection is linked with cancer of the cervix, penis and anus.
  • There are very large, rare, wart-like growths called giant condyloma acuminatum that are not warts at all. They are actually slow-growing but aggressive skin cancers.

Will my warts go away on their own?

Common warts and flat warts have high rates of spontaneous remission. In children, the rates of spontaneous clearance of common warts is approximately 50% at 1 year and 70% at 2 years.

What can I do to prevent the spread of my warts?

If you are a nail-biter and have warts on the fingers, you should try to stop this habit because you are spreading the wart from finger to finger. Warts also should not be picked at because the virus can transfer. For men with warts on the face who need to shave, an electric razor is preferred over a razor blade.

What treatments are available for warts?

Numerous treatments exist for warts because no individual treatment works for everyone. The goals of wart therapy are not only to remove the wart, but also to avoid scarring and prevent recurrences.

Treatments for common warts include:

  • Topical application of salicylic acid
  • Cryotherapy (freezing)
  • Cantharone (chemical destruction)
  • Surgical destruction
  • Laser therapy
  • Oral cimetidine (thought to modulate the immune system)
  • Immunotherapy (topically applied chemicals or injected)
  • Chemotherapy injections (bleomycin) for recalcitrant warts.

Treatments for flat warts:

  • Cryotherapy
  • Topical salicyclic acid
  • Retinoid medications including tretinoin and tazarotene topical medications
  • Imiquimod cream (immunomodulator)
  • 5-fluorouracil topical chemotherapy
  • Surgical destruction
  • Immunotherapy

Treatments for genital warts include:

  • Podophyllin chemical application
  • Imiquimod cream (immunomodulator)
  • Application of chemical peel solutions (trichloroacetic acid)
  • Cryotherapy
  • Electrosurgery
  • 5-fluorouracil topical chemotherapy

An important component of wart treatment is persistence. Any individual treatment should not be abandoned too quickly.