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what is a wart

What Is A Wart?

Warts are a skin growth where the skin thickens in a localised area. They are a common skin concern, that most of us will have them at some point in our lives and they have nothing to do with being ‘dirty’.

Warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) which infects the topmost layers of your skin and can be passed on to other people by skin-to-skin contact or by touching surfaces that have infected skin cells on them. Luckily, warts don’t normally cause you problems, but we’re often embarrassed by their appearance, and they can be annoying if they catch on jewellery or clothes. 

Genital warts can cause complications and should be assessed and treated asap; the first port of call should be a local NHS GUM clinic.

Did you know? 

Verrucas or verrucae are warts that are on the sole of the foot.

If your skin is damaged or wet and you come into contact with the HPV virus, it is more likely to infect your skin; that’s why public swimming pools are notorious for spreading verrucae.

It is possible that these skin lesions will go on their own after quite some time, however, warts can be harder for you to fight off if your immunity is suppressed, as it cannot fight the infection as well as a fully functioning immune system can. It is advisable to take multivitamins whilst trying to fight off this infection to give your immune system extra support. 

If you have warts or are in close contact with someone who has these skin lesions there are some important steps you should take to help prevent you from catching them, spreading them to other body parts and/or to other people:

  • Wear socks if you have warts (verrucas) on your feet. It would be courteous to avoid public swimming pools, if possible until warts have gone.
  • Do not share items such as towels or clothes.
  • Avoid the lesions touching other people’s skin
  • Avoid warts touching other parts of your skin.

If you are unsure if your skin lesion(s) is a wart, it is best to get it checked out by a medical professional, either via the NHS or privately. It is especially important to have your skin lesions assessed ASAP if they hurt, bleed, or grow quickly.

Wart Removal Options

There are treatment options for wart removal should you not wish to wait for them to go on their own over time. Over-the-counter treatments that can be applied directly to warts; this is usually most people’s first port of call when it comes to skin lesion removal because it are the cheapest. Ask your pharmacist what the best options are for you. 

Alternatively, there are clinical treatments that are used to trigger an immune response from your body to help it to fight off the infection. These are freezing the wart with liquid nitrogen or treating it with a pulse dye laser. Additionally, you can have warts removed surgically. At our skin clinic, the methods of wart removal we offer are laser treatment with the pulse dye laser or, if the skin lesion fails to respond to all other forms of treatment, we will curette it. 

Clinical treatments are proven to be effective, however, it is super important to know that warts may grow back. Treatment will also not prevent new warts from appearing. This is true for both over-the-counter wart treatments and professional treatments. 

Kerri Lewis, Clinic Manager, suggests: “If you are interested in professional wart removal, perhaps you’ve tried an over-the-counter treatment and it’s not been very successful for you, the first step is a skin consultation with a medical professional. During this time, we will assess your lesion, and diagnose it- you’d be surprised how often clients come in thinking they have a certain type of skin lesion and it turns out to be something different-and discuss treatment with you”.

If you’d like to arrange a consultation to discuss your skin lesions, please contact us.

Disclaimer: This blog is not to be used for diagnostic purposes. We are all unique which means that our results, recovery and suitability for any type of treatment will vary. Always seek the advice of a professional should you have any health or cosmetic concerns or to discuss treatments specifically for you.

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