It was a popular myth in the old days that you can get warts from toads. Not true – now we know that’s bogus. Warts are actually benign tumors of the epidermis caused by a virus. The virus responsible is the human papillomavirus, a double-stranded DNA-virus.
The virus resides in the bottom layer of the epidermis and replicates into almost normal-looking skin. Different sub-types of the human papillamavirus cause different types of warts. Some subtypes also cause cervical cancer and other more obscure types of wart-related cancers.
Another myth about warts is that they have “roots” but warts do not have “roots”. They only grow in the top layer of skin, the epidermis. When they grow down, they displace the second layer of skin, the dermis. The underside of a wart is actually smooth. Warts are caused by a virus that enters the body through a break in the skin. The virus grows in warm, moist environments, such as those created in a locker room or in your shoes when your feet perspire and the moisture is trapped.
Warts normally grow out of the skin in cylindrical columns and they do not fuse when the wart grows on thin skin such as the face. On thicker skin, the columns fuse and are packed tightly together giving the surface the typical mosaic pattern. Dark dots can sometimes be seen in a wart and it is actually blood vessels that have grown rapidly and irregularly into the wart and have thombosed or clotted off.
Warts can occur in people of all ages, but hit most often children and young adults. They spread by direct contact, simply by touching the wart. Most warts resolve within weeks or months, some may take years. Although that is unusual and persons prefer to treat the warts very quick.
It appears that a person’s susceptibility to warts and the time it takes for them to go away is related to the individual’s immune system. People who have immune-related diseases tend to have more warts that last longer.
What kind of treatment is there?
Most warts can be treated with simple over-the-counter remedies. For those that are resistant to these measures, there are other types of treatments that are effective.
In your local drug store you may find good working remedies. Try it and if it works, great. If it does not work you lost a few days and some dollars. Then you will perhaps search for a professional opinion from a doctor and they will probably recommend you some of the following treatments.
Salicylic acid is very common and an effective over-the-counter treatment. You have to do a consistent application every day. The best way to use salicylic acid is to first pare the wart with a blade, pumice stone or a small scrub brush. Soaking the wart in warm water will aid to get a better absorption of the medicine. Salicylic acid is then applied to the wart and allowed to dry. Occluding the treated wart with a band-aid or piece of tape also improves the absorption of the medicine. This procedure should be repeated daily.
If the wart is resistant to your treatment, your physician may recommend an office procedure to remove it. After a local anesthetic is applied, the physician may use liquid nitrogen to freeze the wart and dissolve it. To avoid scarring or damaging other tissues, this method removes only the top portion of the wart. The treatment must be repeated regularly until the entire wart is dissolved. Alternatively, the physician can cut out the wart.
The human papillomavirus is not killed by cryotherapy and is released into the surrounding tissue. The immune system will usually take care of the virus. You will have a blister as a side-effect of the treatment. Nothing to think about unless you have the warts on the bottom of the foot. Then you should perhaps choose another treatment.
Some warts will go away, your immune system take care of them. If not, you will have a number of treatments available that will most certainly work well.