A wart can be unsightly and uncomfortable, and it can make you self-conscious of it depending on the location. Why endure through the stress when you can have it removed in a safe, professional environment at the Canadian Dermatology Center. As one of the best wart treatment centers in Canada, we have the expertise and the experience to offer a comprehensive assessment and diagnosis of your wart and discuss a plethora of treatment options available for the best possible results.
What are warts
A wart is a skin growth caused by some types of the virus called the human papillomavirus (HPV). They are usually small and are non-cancerous but have a thick and hard outer layer of skin due to extra cell growth triggered by the virus.
Who gets warts?
In order to form warts, HPV must enter the body in an area of broken skin and infect the top layer of skin. A general rule is kids and teens are more likely to get warts because their immune systems haven't built up defenses against the many types of HPV. People with a weakened immune system are also more susceptible to forming warts as their immune system is compromised.
In the general population, as each person's immune system responds differently to the virus, not everyone who comes in contact with HPV will get a wart. If, however, you have a chronic skin condition, such as eczema, or often bite your nails and cut or damage your skin in some way, you are more prone to getting warts.
Are warts contagious?
Warts are highly contagious and are mainly passed by direct skin to skin contact, such as when you pick at your warts and then touch another area of your body. They may also be spread via contact with towels or razors that have touched a wart on your body and this holds true for person to person spread as well.
Types of warts
Types of wart include common warts, flat warts, pigmented warts, and plantar warts.
Common warts appear most often on the hands, the fingers, and around the nails but they may appear anywhere on the body. They are usually rough, gray-brown and are dome-shaped growths. They may have black dots which are really tiny blood clots.
Plantar means of the sole in latin. These warts usually don't protrude like other warts and instead grow into your skin due to pressure from walking and standing. They are often confused with calluses because they are flat, tough, and thick. Like common warts, they may have black dots which are really tiny blood clots.
These are usually smaller and smoother than the other wart types but they tend to grow in large numbers, often 10 to 100 at a time. In children they tend to appear on faces and in adults, they appear in beard areas for men and on the legs in women.
Decision to proceed with treatment
Most warts are harmless and nothing needs to be done. In children, warts can disappear without treatment over a period of several months to years. Warts in adults, however, often do not disappear as easily or as quickly. Warts that are bothersome, painful, or rapidly growing or multiplying should be treated.
What treatment options are available?
Our dermatologists have many treatment options available for warts. The decision on type of treatment depends on your age, health, as well as the type of wart.
The dermatologist may paint the wart with cantharidin during your appointment. Cantharidin slowly kills the wart by forming a blister under the wart. Dead wart can be clipped off by the dermatologist during your next appointment.
This is widely known as freezing and is the most common treatment for warts. You will most likely need repeat treatments for it to be effective. It may cause dark sports in people who have dark complexion.
Electrosurgery and curettage
These two procedures are often used together. Electrosurgery involves burning of the wart and is a good treatment option for common warts, filiform warts, and foot warts. Curettage involves scraping off the wart with a scalpel.
Your dermatologist may simply cut out the wart by excising it.
Taking it one step further
Some warts are harder to treat than others and the dermatologist may elect for more aggressive options.
Laser is usually the treatment of choice for warts that were unresponsive to other procedures. To minimize discomfort, the dermatologist may numb the wart with an anesthetic injection.
If you have flat warts, you will most likely have many of them. The most effective way of treating these warts is a peeling method in the form of chemical peels. Chemical peels include salicylic acid, tretinoin, and glycolic acid.
Bleomycin is an anti-cancer medicine that may be injected into the wart by a dermatologist. The injections may be painful and have unwanted side effects, such as nail loss if given in the fingers. All the relevant information will be thoroughly outlined for you by our dermatologists and the wart clinic team.
This treatment involves using the patient's own immune system to fight off the warts. This is usually the last line of treatment. One example is getting shots of interferon to boost one's immune system and increase the body's ability to fight the HPV.
Warts - Frequently Asked Questions
Am I free from warts once I get them treated?
Unfortunately, there is no cure for the wart virus. This means that warts can return at the same site or appear in a new spot even after treatment.
I was treated for warts and now I have new warts around the area where I had warts. What is happening?
New warts may form as fast as old ones go away. This happens when the old warts shed virus cells into the skin before the warts are treated and this allows new warts to grow around the first warts. The best way to prevent this from happening is to see a dermatologist for treatment as soon as new warts appear so that they have little time to shed virus into nearby skin.
Is my treatment for wart covered under OHIP?
Wart treatment in Toronto at the Canadian Dermatology and Plastic Surgery Center in most cases is covered under OHIP. We have a comprehensive treatment options and our dermatologists will guide you to the best treatment possible. Book your consultation today to experience the best wart treatment the city of Toronto has to offer.