Our clients had requested us to interview Dermatologists about the various aspects including different treatment options and prevention methods of SKIN WARTS.
Enriching UR Skin team interviewed two experienced Dermatologists who have been successfully treating warts since past 30 years.
Enriching UR Skin thanks Dr. Sethi (Dermatologist/Cosmetologist) and Dr. Vohra (Homeopathic Skin Specialist) for their time & sharing their valuable experience with us.
Doctor: Warts are small raised bumps or growths on your skin. They can appear nearly anywhere on the body and they differ in appearance, size, and shape.
Warts are caused by a viral infection, specifically by one of the many types of human papillomavirus (HPV). This virus causes keratin, which is a hard protein on the top layer of the skin, to grow too fast leading to the raised extra skin growth. Although most common types of warts are generally harmless, they are still potentially contagious and can be painful when they occur on weight-bearing areas. Each person’s immune system responds to the HPV virus differently, so not everyone who comes in contact with HPV develops warts.
At the same time it is important to note that a few strains of HPV that cause warts on, in, and around your genitals— called “genital warts” — can eventually lead to cervical cancer, a potentially fatal disease. Hence If you think you have genital warts or think you have been exposed to them, you should see a doctor right away.
Note: Viral warts can be confused at times with other skin growths such as skin-tags (benign skin tumor),molluscum contagiosum (growths on the skin which look like white pearls; caused by another group of virus; often observed in children), moles, birth-marks, lichen planus, etc.
Enriching UR Skin Team: Doctor what are the different types of warts?
Doctor: The different types of warts are as follows:
- Common warts: a raised wart with roughened surface, most common on hands, but can grow anywhere on the body.
- Flat wart: a small, smooth flattened wart, flesh-coloured, which can occur in large numbers; most common on the face, neck, hands, wrists and knees.
- Filiform warts: a thread- or finger-like wart, most common on the face, especially near the eyelids and lips.
- Plantar wart: a hard sometimes painful lump, often with multiple black specks in the center; usually only found on pressure points on the soles of the feet.
- Mosaic wart: a group of tightly clustered plantar-type warts, commonly on the hands or soles of the feet.
- Genital warts: a wart that occurs on the genitalia. This is a form of sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by certain strains of the human papilloma virus (HPV). These are especially dangerous for women because some types of HPV can also cause cancer of the cervix and vulva.
- Periungual warts: grow under and around the toenails and fingernails. They can be painful and affect nail growth.
Enriching UR Skin Team: Doctor what are the common treatment options that are employed for treating warts?
Doctor: The treatment employed depends on the patient’s age and health as well as the type of wart. A dermatologist may employ one of the following treatments:
1.) Salicylic-acid application: Salicylic acid is a keratolytic medication, which means it dissolves the protein (keratin), which makes up most of both the wart and the thick layer of dead skin. This is one of the most common treatments employed for warts especially the warts on feet, hands and knees. Salicylic acid preparations are not suitable for lesions on the face or genital area. It is also the first choice of treatment in children where electrosurgery or curettage or cryosurgery may not be tolerated. It is usually used alone or in combination with lactic acid. It is available in variety of forms like drops, gels, pads, and plasters. They are designed for application to many types of warts, from tiny ones to great big lumpy ones.
2.) Cantharidin: A dermatologist may treat a wart by “painting” it with cantharidin. Cantharidin causes a blister to form under the wart which eventually turns into a scab and can subsequently be clipped off.
3.) Cryotherapy: In this cold liquid nitrogen, is sprayed onto the wart, freezing it and destroying the unwanted tissue. A blister develops, which eventually turns into a scab and falls off a week or so later. This treatment has to be done by a certified dermatologist and may require a local anesthesia. If the wart is large, several treatments may be required over a number of weeks.
4.) Electrosurgery and curettage: This is by far the most effective & reliable treatment for warts. Also the reason so many people opt for electrosurgey is that the results can be seen immediately. This is a good treatment option for common warts, filiform warts (particularly on the face & limbs) and foot warts.
Electrosurgery (burning) means burning the wart using ultra minute electric needle. Curettage involves scraping off (curetting) the wart with a sharp knife or small, spoon-shaped tool. These two procedures are usually used together. The dermatologist may remove the wart by scraping it off after electrosurgery.
5.) Excision: The doctor may cut out the wart (excision).
6.) Immunotherapy: This treatment uses the patient’s own immune system to fight the warts. This treatment is used when the warts remain despite other treatments. One type of immunotherapy involves applying a chemical, such as diphencyprone (DCP), to the warts. A mild allergic reaction occurs around the treated warts. This reaction may cause the warts to go away.
Points of Caution:
- If you have warts, you can spread the virus to other places on your own body.
- Warts can come back firstly if the infection is not controlled and secondly if they are not removed correctly hence it is very important to get the removal done only from a certified dermatologist.
- Do Not attempt to remove a wart yourself by burning, cutting, tearing, picking, or by any other method.
- Do Not use over-the-counter wart medicines on your face or genitals. Warts in these areas need to be treated by a health care provide.
Enriching UR Skin Team: Doctor, does homeopathy offer any effective treatment options for warts?
Doctor (Homeopathic skin specialist): Homeopathic treatments prove to be very effective for most people and I have personally seen astonishing results in most of my patients who have strictly followed the medication prescribed over a period of 3-4 months. It is important to mention that instant (within a few days) cure is not practically possible without surgical intervention.
As for medicines there are about 25 possible medicines for warts in homeopathy. The basic medicines remain constant for everyone but a few more may be added or removed based on the individual symptoms, type, severity, chronicity of warts as well as the areas being affected. Hence as every patient is treated differently the results also vary from patient to patient. The duration of treatment also varies from patient to patient. Approximately, within three months or so, one starts seeing positive results. Warts which are many in number and have existed for more than five years may need longer course of medication.
Generalized medication for most commonly occurring warts is as follows:
1.) Common warts on:
Face, eyebrows, lips, tip of the nose, eyelids & neck:
- Thuja (1M) once a week for 3 months
- Thuja (200) + Causticum (200) + Calcaria carb (200) to be taken thrice daily for 3 months
Hands & fingers:
- Thuja (1M) once a week for 3 months
- Thuja (200) + Dulcamara (200) + Kali. mur (200) + Calcaria carb (200) to be taken thrice daily for 3 months
2.) Flat warts or planters warts:
- Thuja (1M) once a week for 3 months
- Thuja (200) + Causticum (200) + Ruta (200) to be taken thrice daily for 3 months
Enriching UR Skin Team: Doctor when should one consult a dermatologist?
Doctor: Well it is always advisable to see a dermatologist in any of the following situations:
- You have anal or genital warts.
- You notice bleeding or signs of infection, such as pus or scabbing, around a wart
- You have warts on your face or another sensitive part of your body (e.g., mouth, nostrils).
- The wart does not respond to self-care and you want it removed.
- The wart causes pain.
- You have diabetes or a weakened immune system (for example, from HIV) and have developed warts.
- There is any change in the color or appearance of the wart.
Enriching UR Skin Team: Doctor can we prevent warts, if so how?
Doctor: There are ways to prevent warts and keep them from spreading to other parts of your body if you already have one. Follow these simple guidelines:
- Don’t pick, scratch or rub your warts.
- Cover the warts with a bandage or athletic tape.
- Wash your hands regularly, especially if you have been in contact with someone with warts. Use sanitizer in public places.
- Do not share personal care items like razors, nail clippers, personal grooming devices, towels and makeup.
- Wear footwear in public places with moist walking surfaces (eg public showers in gyms, swimming pools etc) especially if you have any cuts or blisters on your feet. Wear shower shoes (flip-flops) when in a communal bathing facility.
- As far as possible try to keep your feet dry because moisture or dampness increases the chances of contracting HPV infection.
- Boost your immune system.
- For Genital warts avoid oral sex. Also consult your health care provider for HPV vaccination.