Have you noticed small growths on your hands or feet, neck, or other parts of the body and are unsure what to do?
Don’t panic, in most cases, these are common warts that resolve spontaneously or through simple and safe treatments.
It is very important to know how to recognize them because, although “harmless”, they must be treated properly to avoid relapses.
Warts are squamous proliferative disorders caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), of which there are more than 100 types that infect the skin through areas of trauma;
They manifest as small, thick, greyish-yellow skin growths that affect the most superficial layers of the epidermis.
The classification of warts is based on their appearance and location:
The common wart is the most common type whose lesions appear mainly on the hands and fingers (or even other parts of the body) where they appear as grayish-white or brown, flat or raised papules with a wrinkled surface and cause pain when subjected to. print;
The flat wart occurs asymptomatically, on the face or hands, as a flat, raised red papule with smooth contours; they are small and difficult to recognize;
Plantar and palmar warts appear on the feet and hands as rough, crusty lesions that can be confused with common calluses;
Anogenital warts or warts (venereal warts) can arise in the genitals, urethra, perianal area, and rectum and appear as soft, brown masses.
The most common type of wart is Vulgaris (about 70%), followed by plantar and flat; while anogenital warts are rarer.
Few data are available on the incidence and prevalence of warts in the population, which varies greatly between different age groups and time periods.
The causes of warts are some strains of the HPV virus and the risk factors are those that facilitate their engraftment:
contagion by direct contact with the warts of others or with warts themselves (“autoinoculation”, through which warts are transmitted from one part of the body to another);
the presence of skin lesions that facilitate the entry of HPV;
the weakening of the immune defenses;
mixed-use of towels, bathrobes, and nail care items.
The most common sites of infection are hands and feet, but any area of the body can be infected, so the dermatologist makes the diagnosis by observing the growth and if doubts arise, the doctor takes a sample to be analyzed to rule out other pathologies.
Warts are generally harmless: one study showed that in about 35% of cases, they go away on their own and without treatment over a period of 6 months to 2 years.
The accuracy rate varies widely and depends on several factors including host immunity, age, type of HPV, and site of infection.
The medical literature reveals that treatments for treating warts vary depending on the type and location of the wart, as well as the number and extent of the area of skin affected.
The first treatment option is to use a salicylic acid solution concentrated in a flexible collodion applied directly to the wart for several weeks.
Like salicylic acid, there is cryotherapy, which is a destructive treatment based on the targeted freezing of tissues with liquid nitrogen, dimethyl ether propane, or carbon dioxide; Liquid nitrogen reaches the lowest temperatures and is currently the most widely used agent.
One study found that salicylic acid and cryotherapy are also effective in removing common warts and plantar warts, but since cryotherapy is more expensive than treatment with salicylic acid, the latter is the more suitable of the two ( from an economic point of view). ).
Isolated warts can be removed surgically with a curette (pointed spatula) that separates the wart from the skin.
The carbon dioxide laser is also an effective treatment option, and several studies are underway to compare laser methods with each other to establish treatment protocols.
Genital warts are destroyed with an electric needle or with the application of podophyllin (plant extract).
In more problematic cases, phototherapy is used which uses light and a photosensitive compound to get rid of warts.
Warts are difficult to remove despite various treatments because they have a high risk of recurrence.
For this reason, early intervention is needed to prevent it from spreading to other areas of the body.
Here are some tips for avoiding infections:
Avoid direct contact with other people’s warts or your own;
Take care of the hygiene of the skin because the cutaneous lesions facilitate the entry of the viruses;
Avoid sharing nail tools and towels;
Use of personal slippers or slippers in gyms, swimming pools and communal showers.
To prevent these diseases, the usual rules of hygiene and behavior are valid, as always, as well as to consult with health professionals, never do it yourself to avoid serious complications.