When I went to our marketing team and asked them, “I have some time to write more blogs, what topics would you guys like? Can I write about some of the exciting new and sexy cosmetic and laser treatments we have at the clinic?” They responded: “We need one about warts!”
After a 20-minute screaming fit, a couple of flipped desks, and five long meetings with HR…. let’s talk about warts! Just kidding, warts are a big part of my dermatology clinic in Calgary and are a rewarding condition to treat. In fact, they’re very common. It’s not unusual to come across them at some point in our lives, so it’s good to get your bearings and learn how they can be treated effectively.
How Do You Get Warts?
Warts are a virus of the skin. They can show up in different ways, some more prone to specific areas of the body than others. Many people ask, are warts contagious? We know that they spread by direct skin-to-skin contact where the skin barrier is broken or damaged. However, there is also a good argument that the virus can be passed via inanimate objects. This means flip flops in the gym shower are still a good idea to prevent warts…that is back before COVID when we still had access to gym showers.
Warts at Different Stages of Life
Warts are more common in children and young adults, but the good news is that they often go away on their own in less than two years. Unfortunately, for adults this can take much longer, lasting up to decades if left untreated.
Finding the Right Treatment Plan
Many patients have come to me after trying over the counter options or home remedies they’ve heard of online. And trust me, I’ve seen everything from the oil of oregano to burning them with a lit cigarette. Needless to say, these options are not recommended by dermatologists.
Over the counter salacylic acid solutions have a place, and in some cases, even the freezing tools they sell at the pharmacy can work. However, most of the time, our in-clinic wart treatments are stronger and more effective for persistent cases.
How To Get Rid of Warts
Not all warts need the same treatment. In my practice, the first thing I explain to patients is the need for consistency and commitment to the process. One visit won’t be enough, so planning to come in every 2-3 weeks is important for success. In these sessions we’ll use a combination of treatments, including freezing with liquid nitrogen, zapping with our electrofulgurator, and placing a strong topical acid before covering it in duct tape. Yes, I said duct tape, that home remedy has some merit!
While they aren’t silver bullets, we also have certain laser wart removal options like our CO2 or our pulse dye that can be used in specific cases. In the end, the more we can make the situation uncomfortable for your little viral hitch-hiker and wake up your immune system to help fight it, the faster we’ll see success.
If you have warts or something that you think is a wart you should come by for an assessment! If it turns out to be one, we can come up with a treatment plan and start towards getting rid of it for good.