Warts

Warts

Dr. Kory Kitagawa, an Oahu native, is a board-certified cosmetic and medical dermatologist with a focus on providing individualized, caring treatments to each and every patient he sees. He and his staff at Kitagawa Dermatology in Honolulu are dedicated to providing unparalleled dermatological care for a variety of skin disorders, including the various types of warts.

Dr. Kitagawa and staff have the training, skills, and experience to deal with the physical aspects of troublesome skin conditions as well as the psychological ones that often follow. They offer a wide variety of treatments and tailor treatments to match each patient’s particular case. To get more information on all the options for treating warts and other skin conditions, contact Kitagawa Dermatology today at 808.533.4434 and let Dr. Kitagawa and staff take care of you.

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An Overview of Warts

In general, warts are small skin growths that commonly occur on your hands and fingers. The growths feel rough to the touch and are sometimes characterized by tiny black dots that actually are tiny clotted blood vessels.

Though warts are not harmful to your health, they are at best a nuisance and at worst an embarrassment. They usually disappear without treatment, but many patients have them removed due to social embarrassment. You should see Dr. Kitagawa and his exceptional staff if your growths cause pain, change appearance, spread despite treatment, or interfere with common daily tasks.

Types of Warts

Dermatologists and scientists group warts into five distinct types, each affecting a different part of the body and having a unique appearance.

  • Common Warts – They usually grow on your fingers and toes but can appear elsewhere. They have a rounded top, look grainy, and feel rough to the touch. They are usually grayish or brownish.
  • Plantar Warts – These make their home on the soles of your feet, which can make walking uncomfortable and even difficult. A plantar wart is unique in that it grows the opposite way that most warts do – into your skin, not protruding out of it. It is characterized by a hardened, rough patch of skin on your foot’s sole with a small hole or depression at the center of the patch.
  • Flat Warts – Usually appearing on your face, arms, and thighs, these are small with a flat top and can be pink, yellowish, or brownish. Due to their size and appearance, these types are not always easily noticeable.
  • Filiform Warts – Flesh-colored filiform growths are small and often resemble a small flap of skin. They commonly grow on your nose or around your mouth, although it’s not unusual to find them under your chin or on your neck.
  • Periungual Warts – These are painful growths that develop under or around your fingernails and toenails. In addition to causing pain or discomfort, they also can inhibit the growth of your nails.

What Causes Warts?

Warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), which attacks the outer layer of your skin through a tiny cut or scratch and causes the rapid growth of cells that becomes the wart. Warts are contagious, spreading through direct skin-to-skin contact or through indirect means, such as via a towel that has been in contact with a wart. If you have them already, you can spread the virus further on your own body.

Most manifestations are harmless. However, among the 100+ types of the HPV, a few strains can cause a breakout of warts in, on, and around your genitals. Genital warts can, if ignored, lead to cervical cancer, so if you think you have them, or if you think you’ve been exposed to them, schedule an appointment with Dr. Kitagawa and his staff as soon as possible.

To learn more about wart treatments, visit WebMD.com.

Treatment of Warts

Most of the time, common warts disappear on their own without treatment, although it may not be quick – sometimes they stay around for years. However, if you’d prefer to treat it immediately, Dr. Kitagawa can suggest treatment options for you to consider.

Treatment goals are either to kick your immune system into action to fight off the HPV or to outright destroy the growth(s). Sometimes, the goal is both. The following are treatment options that may be right for you.

Prescription strength salicylic acid removes the layers of your wart a little at a time. It’s often even more effective if used in combination with freezing.

Freezing (cryotherapy) can be done at the dermatology office and entails applying liquid nitrogen to your wart, which induces a blister under the growth, causing it to die and eventually shed the dead tissue.

Pulsed dye laser treatment fuses tiny blood vessels in your growth, causing the infected tissue to die and fall off. Other acids, such as bichloroacetic or trichloroacetic acid, are often used if salicylic acid treatment doesn’t work.

Be patient. Treatment can take weeks or even months and, even if you do undergo treatment, don’t be discouraged or surprised if they recur or spread. Keep Dr. Kitagawa updated on your condition.

Oftentimes, the best treatment includes preventative measures that reduce your risk of contraction:

  • Avoid direct contact with warts, including your own
  • Don’t do anything that can cause minute cuts in your skin, such as biting your fingernails or picking at existing warts
  • If you use an emery board or nail clippers around infected areas, use a separate one on your unaffected skin and nails
  • Wash your hands well after coming in contact with your own warts or shared surfaces, such as exercise equipment at the local gym

Schedule a Consultation with Kitagawa Dermatology

To understand more about the various types of warts and your options for treating them, contact Kitagawa Dermatology for a personalized consultation.

Don’t allow this or another skin disorder to adversely affect you. Dr. Kitagawa and his staff have the means to treat your disorder effectively, so contact Kitagawa Dermatology by calling 808.533.4434 or filling out the online contact form for a consultation and effective care today.

Next, read about Actinic Keratosis.