How to get rid of pesky warts

Over a year ago, I noticed a small round, raised spot on the pad of my right index finger. Hard, flat, and a light gray, it wasn't a blister or part of a rash. It didn't itch or burn but felt rougher than the skin around it. A month later, it was still there.  
Two months later, it was still there. It stayed just like it was: a small, round, raised, flat, and light gray spot on the pad of my finger. 
Hmm... Could it be a wart? 
When I showed it to my doctor, he confirmed it. That spot on my finger was a wart.
I’m not alone. After acne, warts are the most common and annoying skin condition that people want to get rid of. 
Warts are a viral infection of the outer layer of your skin. Human papillomavirus or HPV is responsible for creating a wart. Skin infected by HPV grows into a thickened mass that eventually juts out from the normal skin surrounding it. 
Warts can be different colors, like light gray, yellow, brown, even gray-black. More often found on your hands and feet, children are more likely to have warts than adults.
There are several main types of warts found in humans. These include common warts, flat warts, palmar (on the palm of your hand) warts, plantar (on the sole of your foot) warts, and genital warts. Although most warts are relatively flat, some grow outward, creating a "bushy," cauliflower-like appearance.
Even though they are considered unsightly, most warts are harmless. Although they aren't dangerous, warts can be pretty inconvenient if they appear on your face or grow on a weight-bearing surface, like the bottom of your foot. When a wart creates pressure or pain when you walk on it, it should be removed as soon as reasonably possible. 
How do you remove a wart? Most treatments work by damaging or destroying the infected skin. This is believed to trigger your immune system to address the wounded area, attacking the HPV virus helping to eliminate it. 
If you do nothing, nearly half of all warts will eventually go away by themselves, without any treatment, within about 2 years for children and within 2-5 years for adults. 
Most wart treatments involve applying a topical product to the wart for several weeks to around 3 months. The most common method is to attack the wart with a caustic liquid or gel containing salicylic acid. Some products contain either 17% or 40% salicylic acid as a concentrated liquid or patch, like Compound W® and Dr. Scholl’s Clear Away®. 
When using salicylic acid, always cover the treated area with a close-fitting bandage. You can even use duct tape.
Another approach is to apply an icy liquid to the wart first, such as Dr. Scholl’s Freeze Away® or Compound W’s Nitrofreeze®. You can follow that with applying a salicylic acid product.
This will work for most people, but some warts stubbornly refuse to die. Contact your doctor for the removal of painful or persistent warts. A physician uses liquid nitrogen to freeze the wart, called cryotherapy. 
Here are 7 Tips to Help Treat Warts Effectively:
1.Remove the Top Layer First.
To enhance the penetration of your remedy into the wart, ALWAYS soak it in warm water for at least 5-10 minutes, and then remove the upper layers of the wart with sandpaper or an emery board. 
2.Never Reuse Emery Board or Sandpaper.
I prefer to use sandpaper so I can throw it away. DON’T reuse the sandpaper or emery board you just used on your wart! It is now contaminated with the HPV virus and could re-infect you. 
3.Protect Your Skin.
Avoid using abrasives like sandpaper or emery boards on the normal skin around your wart. Apply your treatment ONLY to the wart itself; injuring nearby healthy skin makes it easier for a wart to spread.  
4.Be Patient.
It takes weeks to respond to wart removal treatments and up to 3 months for warts to completely go away, and no treatment works on everyone. If you don’t notice improvement after 2 months, try something else or contact your doctor.
5.Try Salicylic Acid First.
Concentrated salicylic acid products have the best track record for removing warts. Apply 40% salicylic acid gel, then cover with a bandage. For sensitive skin, use a product containing 17% salicylic acid.
6.Combine Your Approach.
For stubborn warts, freezing it first, then applying a topical agent will give better results than using either approach alone. 
 
Dr. Louise Achey, Doctor of Pharmacy, is a 42-year veteran of pharmacology and author of Why Dogs Can’t Eat Chocolate: How Medicines Work and How YOU Can Take Them Safely. Get clear answers to your medication questions at her website and blog TheMedicationInsider.com. ®2021 Louise Achey

 

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