Wart care: What are the signs and how is it treated?

Fact Checked

A wart is described as benign tumors in the epidermis which is caused by a virus. The virus responsible is the human papillomavirus (HPV) which resides in the lower layer of the epidermis and replicates into skin that almost appears normal.

Contrary to the widespread belief, warts have no roots. They only occur in the upper skin layer or epidermis. Once they grow down, they shift or take the place of the second layer or dermis. The bottom of the wart is actually smooth.

How warts look like

It is important to note that warts usually move out of the skin as cylinder-like columns. These columns do not merge once a wart grows on fine skin such as in the face. As for denser skin, the columns fuse and become tightly packed together that provides the typical mosaic pattern on the surface.

There are also black dots that can be seen in the wart. These are the blood vessels that rapidly and irregularly grow into the wart and have clotted off.

Who usually develop warts?

Wart care
Warts can develop in individuals of all ages, but mostly common among children and young adults.

Warts can develop in individuals of all ages, but mostly common among children and young adults. They spread via direct contact by simply touching the wart. Take note that warts usually resolve spontaneously but the time frame tends to vary.

In most cases, they resolve within weeks or months but some can take years. The susceptibility of an individual and the time it takes to subside is linked to the immune system of the individual. Those who suffer from immune-related disorders such as lymphoma or AIDS or those under chemotherapy have warts that last longer.

Management of warts

Most cases of warts can be managed with simple over-the-counter remedies. As for resistant cases, there are commonly used treatment options that are effective.

Salicylic acid

Salicylic acid is commonly used and an effective over-the-counter treatment but entails continuous application on a daily basis. The ideal way to use salicylic acid is to initially pare the wart using a blade, emery board, pumice stone or a small-sized scrub brush. Additionally, soaking the wart under warm water can help with the absorption of the medication.

The medication is dabbed on the wart and allowed to dry. The normal adjacent skin can be protected using petroleum jelly. In some cases, occluding the treated wart using a piece of tape also helps with the absorption. This must be done on a daily basis usually around bath time.


Cryotherapy or freezing of warts is another effective treatment. When it comes to this treatment, liquid nitrogen in spray form is used or placed on a cotton swab that is applied to the wart. This works by freezing and eliminates the affected cells but the connective tissue is not affected. As a result, the lesion eventually heals without causing significant scarring.

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