In most cases warts/verrucae that are treated with lasers are permanently removed after one treatment. In contrast to surgical removal, laser treatment causes no scarring, and generally requires no anesthesia making it particularly suitable for the treatment of children.
Alternatively an erbium laser can be used to gently remove the wart micron layer by micron layer. Clinical results show that there is no presence of the DNA of the virus that causes warts/verrucae in the plume of the laser meaning that there is no risk that the treatment will spread the virus.
What Is A Wart?
Any rounded excrescence on the skin of an animal or the surface of a plant.
Informal an obnoxious or objectionable person.
What Causes Warts?
When skin warts appear, it can seem as if the harmless growths came out of nowhere.
But common warts are actually an infection in the top layer of skin, caused by viruses in the human papillomavirus, or HPV, family. When the virus invades this outer layer of skin, usually through a tiny scratch, it causes rapid growth of cells on the outer layer of skin – creating the wart.
“HPV is ubiquitous, We all come in contact with it”, throughout our lives, such as when shaking hands, turning doorknobs, or typing on keyboards.
Scientists have identified more than 100 unique types of the virus. Most people will have at least one common wart at sometime in their lives, usually on their hands.
Certain forms of the virus are more likely to cause skin warts on the hands. Other forms of HPV are more likely to cause genital warts, although some strains of the virus can cause both.
How do people get common skin warts?
If you have any type of skin wart, it means that you came in contact with a wart-causing virus sometime in the past, though it could have been months ago.
“People get warts from other people with warts, they don’t get them from frogs and toads, “The most common way is direct skin-to-skin contact, such as shaking hands with someone who has warts on their hand. You can also get the virus from inanimate objects, like towels that have been used by someone with a wart.”
The viruses are more likely to cause warts when they come in contact with skin that is damaged or cut. Getting a small scrape or biting finger nails may bring on wart. Similarly, cuts and nicks from shaving can provide an avenue for infection. This explains why men may have warts in the beard area, while women often have them appear on the legs.
What Are Other Alternatives?
A variety of creams, gels, paints and medicated plasters are available from pharmacies. Most of these contain salicylic acid as their active ingredient, which works by destroying the thickened skin which makes up the wart. Once destroyed this skin can be rubbed off with an abrasive board or pumice stone.
Silver nitrate is another non-prescription treatment that also burns away warts. In addition to ‘over-the-counter’ medications there are several other chemical treatments that are available on prescription including formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, and podophyllin.
One of the most common treatments for warts is Cryotherapy which uses a spray of liquid carbon dioxide or liquid nitrogen to freeze the wart. Once treated a blister develops, followed by a scab, which falls off a week to ten days later, removing the wart. The risks form cryotherapy include scarring, ulceration, or pigment alteration.
Often medical practitioners will surgically remove the wart using a curette to scrape the wart away. With all surgery there is the possibility of scarring and in addition surgical removal of the wart carries a small risk of spreading the virus.
Why do some people get a lot of warts and others don’t?
Since everyone encounters the viruses that cause warts, why do some people get skin warts while others do not? Doctors aren’t sure, but they believe that certain individuals have immune systems that are more able to fight off the viruses and prevent warts from growing.
For example, children get skin warts much more often than adults. This is probably because their immune systems have not yet built a strong defense against the numerous strains of human papillomavirus that they will encounter over their lifetimes.
Also, just as some people are more likely to get poison ivy, the genetic makeups and immune systems of certain individuals make them more susceptible to the viruses that cause skin warts.
It is also common to see warts on multiple siblings in the same family. And children of people who had skin warts as children are often quite susceptible to skin warts themselves.
Still, experts have yet to determine exactly what is different in the immune systems of people who get skin warts frequently.
Is it possible to prevent skin warts?
If you are someone who frequently gets common skin warts, it is important to focus on prevention and treat your skin warts promptly when they do appear.
The first way to prevent skin warts is to avoid coming into contact with the virus:
- Be sure you wash your hands thoroughly and regularly.
- If you work out at a gym, make sure that you clean equipment before use with a clean towel.
- Protect yourself in the gym locker room and shower by wearing rubber flip-flops or sandals.
The second way to prevent skin warts is to keep your skin as cut- and nick-free as possible.
“Try to keep skin healthy and moisturized to avoid having open cuts or fissures in the skin, which would provide a portal for the virus to get into the skin.
If you suffer from skin warts on your fingers and you’re prone to biting your fingernails or pulling on hangnails, it’s in your best interest to quit the habit. Also, when shaving, be sure to use a sharp razor that won’t tear or cut your skin.
What is the best way to remove warts?
If you do get skin warts, it’s time to act quickly.
“The most important thing when you see a wart is getting rid of it immediately, Warts can spread on your body if left untreated.
“Every wart is a mother wart that can have babies, You need to get rid of all visible warts whenever they appear so you don’t have more spread.”
Most dermatologists agree that people can start with home remedies or wart removers from the drugstore.
“I usually advise trying at-home treatments — first with salicylic acid or clear nail polish or tape or any other method that suffocates the virus.
Pre And Post Instructions
- Do not apply any topical antifungals (creams, oils, or powders) for 2 days prior to treatment.
- Bring a pair of clean socks to wear home. After your treatment: To help prevent re-infection of the nail:
- Wear clean socks/shoes after treatment.
- Wash sheets; disinfect shower/bath and vacuum carpets day of treatment.
- We highly recommend the use of a SteriShoe to treat each pair of shoes to be worn at least once a week for 4 weeks or if you do not have a SteriShoe apply anti-fungal spray to all shoes.
- Try not to walk barefoot in public places (pool, gym, etc.)
The Nd:YAG laser is also exceptionally effective for wart removal, as the Nd:YAG laser targeted absorption of vascular tissue coagulates the wart’s blood vessels, causing subsequent necrosis.