– They're not life-threatening but they certainly can be bothersome. Warts affect up to 10% of the population. Some warts, like plantar warts, on the bottom of the feet can be painful. Even if they're not painful, most people want to get rid of them. Common warts affect children more than adults and are most frequently found on the hands but can be found in other areas as well.
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Warts are caused by a virus. These dome-shaped bumps that feel rough to the touch often appear on an area of skin that's been damaged such as an abrasion or cut. A cut seems to make it easier for the virus to enter the skin and grow to form a wart. Plantar warts can be contracted by walking barefoot on public surfaces like gym floors and locker rooms. Warts are contagious and can be spread from person to person. They will eventually go away over time but can take months or even years to disappear without treatment. If you believe you have warts, see your doctor to confirm the diagnosis. Other skin conditions can sometimes look like warts.
What Can You Do about Warts?
Doctors sometimes use liquid nitrogen to "freeze" a wart for removal. It usually takes several visits to completely remove the wart. Available without a prescription are freeze-away wart removers. You simply apply the product to the wart at home. The wart should disappear in around ten to 14 days. You can also use a pumice stone or emery board to help gently remove the dead skin cells after treatment.
Another option that doctors often recommend for warts is salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is proven to be effective for treating warts. According to a study, it has a success rate of around 75%. How does it work? Salicylic acid loosens the skin cells that make up the wart so the wart gradually peels away. It also creates irritation that causes the immune system to attack the wart.
Salicylic acid is available in a number of forms without a prescription. For easy application, look for wart remover in stick form or as a fast-acting liquid you apply directly to the wart. If you want to hide the wart, look for invisible strips with salicylic acid to help remove the wart while camouflaging it. For plantar warts on your feet, plantar wart pads are available that contain salicylic acid. Apply them directly to the warts. If you prefer a natural approach, homeopathic products for warts work with your body's own healing defenses to help heal this pesky skin condition.
The Bottom Line
Warts are a common problem in children and adults that usually takes a while to go away without therapy. There are a number of products available to help speed up healing. If you don't see improvement after using one of these products, see your doctor.