Warts are small, rough and hard growths that are similar to the skin colour. They usually occur on the hands and feet but can appear in other areas as well like the neck, back etc. They don’t normally show any symptoms except when they are at the bottom of the feet. Warts are very common, once a person crosses the age of 20 years there is a high possibility of him or her getting affected by warts. Factors that increase the risk of occurrence of warts include use of public showers, working with meat, low immune system and eczema. The virus, which is responsible for causing warts, enters the body through the upper layer of the skin.
Most types of warts fall off in a couple of months without any treatment, but some warts are required to be taken care of, as they don’t fall off themselves, rather they need treatment. Treatment of genital warts differs from person to person. There are various speedy treatments for non-genital warts like salicylic acid applied to the skin and cryotherapy.
On the basis of shape, size, site affected, as well as the type of human papillomavirus involved, the warts are categorised as follows:
- Common wart: it is known as verruca Vulgaris. It is a raised wart with a roughened surface. It can grow anywhere on the body but mostly occurs on the hands. It is also called junior wart or palmer wart.
- Flat wart: It is known as verruca plana. It is a small, flesh-coloured, smooth flattened wart. It can occur in large numbers. It mostly occurs on the face, neck, hands, wrists and knees.
- Filiform or digitate wart: It has a thread or finger-like structure. It occurs mostly on the face, especially near the eyelids and lips.
- Genital wart: It is known by several names like a venereal wart, condyloma acuminatum and verruca acuminate. It occurs mostly on genitalia.
- Mosaic wart: It is a group of tightly clustered plantar-type warts. It commonly occurs on the hands or soles of the feet.
- Periungual wart: It is a cauliflower-like cluster of warts that occurs around the nails.
- Plantar wart: It is known as verruca and verruca plantaris: It is a hard and painful lump and has black specks in the centre. It is usually found on the pressure points on the soles of the feet.
Warts are caused by an infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV). There are more than 100 types of HPV that exist, but only a few of them cause warts on the hands. HPV infects the squamous epithelium of the skin. Some types of HPV are more likely to cause warts on the feet and other skin areas and mucous membranes. Most types of HPV lead to harmless conditions like common warts, while others may cause serious diseases such as cancer of the cervix.
One can get warts from skin to skin contact with people who already have them. Warts can also be caused indirectly by touching something that another person’s wart touched, such as exercise equipment or a towel. The virus spreads through the damaged area of a person’s skin, such as a hangnail or a scrape. Nail-biting can also cause warts to spread on the fingertips and around the nails.
Below is the list of the wart types that are caused by the respective HPV type:
- Common wart: HPV type 1, 2, 3, 4, 26, 29 and 57 and others.
- Plantar warts: HPV type 1, 2, 3, 4, 27, 28, 58 and others.
- Anogenital warts: HPV type 6, 11, 42, 44 and others.
- Flat warts: HPV types 3, 10 and 28.
- Butcher’s warts: HPV type 7.
20 home remedies to get rid of warts
- HOT WATER SOAK
Warm water helps in softening warts. It also helps in removing the virus and prevents infection.
- Take a bowl full of lukewarm water and soak warts in it. Plain hot water can be used but for quicker results add white vinegar or Epsom salt.
- ALOE VERA
Aloe vera is well known for its anti-inflammatory properties.
- Extract the aloe gel from the leaf using a spoon or blunt knife.
- Then, apply the gel on warts using a clean cotton ball and use a bandage to hold the cotton ball over the wart.
- Do this twice, daily for two weeks.
- APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
It has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.
- Dilute two parts of apple cider vinegar in one part water and then apply this solution on the wart using a clean cotton ball.
- Then, secure the cotton ball over the wart using a bandage or tape. Repeat this for a few weeks.
- Within a few days, your warts will start to turn black and then will fall off leaving a small mark that will gradually vanish away.
- VITAMIN C
Vitamin C is highly acidic in nature and therefore helps in removing warts.
- Crush two vitamin C tablets and mix them with water to form a fine paste. Rub the affected area with this paste. Initially, it can cause some burning sensations but it will go away very soon.
Garlic has anti-viral and anti-fungal properties that help in fighting viral infections.
- Crush the garlic and apply it on the affected areas. Leave it as it is for 20 minutes and then wash it with normal water.
- Repeat this treatment once a day, for about a week. Large warts may take about 2 months to fall off, but smaller warts will go away quickly.
- BAKING SODA
Baking soda helps combat viruses that cause warts because of its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Mix one teaspoon of white vinegar with baking soda until it turns into a thick paste. Dab that paste on the affected areas, twice a day. Repeat this remedy daily until the wart falls off.
- Crush some fresh basil leaves and rub the leaves on warts. Repeat this procedure twice daily for quick results.
- CASTOR OIL
The main content of castor oil is ricinoleic acid, which is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Castor oil is effective in removing warts on the face and the back of the hands.
- Apply the oil 5 to 6 times a day on warts. Initially, the wart will become dark and then it will fall off.
- BANANA PEEL
Banana peels have anti-oxidant properties that can treat warts quickly. The chemicals and oils present in the banana peel help to dissolve the wart.
- Cut a piece of banana peel and secure your wart with it using tape. Do this every day and especially at night before going to bed. For faster results, use green banana peels. Or just rub the affected area with a slice of banana.
- TEA TREE OIL
Tea tree oil has anti-viral properties that help to remove warts quickly.
- Dilute the tea tree oil with water or aloe Vera gel and then apply it on your warts several times during the day.
Dandelion stem stimulates the immune system and therefore helps to heal warts quickly.
- Use the dandelion stem and squeeze it to get the liquid out of it and apply it on your wart. Do this daily
The bark contains salicylates which are used in many wart treatments.
- Dampen the birch bark with water and tape it over your warts. Make sure the inner side of the bark is facing towards the wart or affected area.
It contains an enzyme that digests the dead tissues.
- Make cuts on the surface of unripe papaya, then mix the thickened sap with water and apply it twice daily over the wart.It will treat the dead tissues and heal the wart quickly.
- RAW POTATO
Potato is known for its anti-inflammatory properties.
- Cut a slice of potato and rub it over the affected area. Repeat it 4 to 5 times a day until the wart falls off.
This herb contains compounds that fight viruses and bacteria.
- Apply a tincture of goldenseal on warts. Do this at least 5 times a day for a month.
- VITAMIN E OIL
Vitamin E oil is said to work against warts.
- Pierce a vitamin E capsule and rub it over the wart.
- Before this remedy, use a pumice stone to expose the wart a bit, by sloughing off the top layer.
- Then break a few leaves off the milkweed plant and squeeze the bottom of the stem to release sap. Apply the sap to cover the wart.
- Do this remedy once a day until the wart is gone.
- MANUKA HONEY
This honey contains a high level of antibacterial and antiviral properties. It covers the wart and blocks the supply of oxygen to the wart, due to which the wart dies.
- Take one teaspoon of honey and apply a thick layer on the wart and secure it with the bandage.
- DUCT TAPE
It stops the oxygen supply to the wart due to which the wart dies quickly.
- Cut off a strip of the tape and apply it to the wart. Keep it the same way for 6 days and then on the 6th day remove the tape and soak the wart in water.
- OREGANO ESSENTIAL OIL
Oregano essential oil offers antiseptic, anti-viral and anti- oxidant properties.
- Add olive oil with oregano essential oil and apply the mixture to the affected area. Apply it four to six times to get rid of warts.
- Avoid biting nails because it might cause tiny tears in the skin on your fingertips.
- Avoid contact, scratch or rub the wart to prevent further self-infection.
- Wash your hands with soap after touching a wart.
- Keep your feet dry because when your feet sweat, the moisture increases the risk of wart development.
- Do not share your personal care items like razors, towels or nail clippers to avoid HPV from spreading.
- Avoid the uncomfortable soles of the shoes because it lets the wart grow faster.
- Boost your immunity system to fight HPV and prevent wart growth.
MYTHS AND FACTS
- Warts are caused by toads.
This myth was started due to the fairytale stories but it is totally wrong. Warts and toads have nothing to do with each other.
- Warts don’t grow back once they are removed.
There are some types of recurring warts that may occur again after some time of their removal.
- Warts have deep roots in the skin.
It is false because warts occur on the topmost layer of the skin; they do not penetrate deep into the skin.
- Warts can only occur to people who are above 30 years of age.
It is not true, even a child can catch warts due to nail-biting habits, touching the wart or sharing stuff with a person who is already infected by warts.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q1. Why do warts have black dots in them?
Ans. These black dots are actually the vessels that supply the wart with the oxygen and nutrients required.
Q2. Will warts go away on their own, without any treatment?
Ans. Yes, few warts can go away without any treatment, though they may take a year or two to disappear. But one wart can cause several other warts, so it is always advised to get treatment.
Q3. Is there any food that a person who has warts should or should not eat?
Ans. Reduce the consumption of carrots, broccoli and pumpkin in your diet. Increase the consumption of garlic as it helps to cure warts and also, drink a cup of green tea every day.
Q4. Can a diabetic person use over the counter medicines to cure warts?
Ans. No, over the counter medicines can lead to loss of sensations in the feet of a diabetic person. So, it’s better to visit a doctor in such a case.