There is a small scratch on the top layer of your skin, maybe from a simple paper cut, and a virus invades your skin through that tiny scratch. The virus causes rapid growth of cells on the outer layer of skin, creating what we know to be warts.
Common skin warts derive from the human papillomavirus (HPV), which often appears on hands, feet and other areas of your skin. Warts are rarely a cause for concern and most types are relatively harmless.
Contracting warts happens via skin-to-skin contact with someone who already has warts, for example shaking hands or typing on the same keyboard. Small nicks in the skin provide a pathway for the infection. Stronger immune systems are able to fight off the virus even after coming into contact with it, which is why children are more likely than adults to contract the skin infection. Prevention of warts can be done in the following ways:
- Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly
- Keep your skin healthy and avoid having open cuts
- Avoid biting your fingernails
- Avoid direct contact with warts
Most common skin warts go away with little to no treatment, but may take a long time to do so. Over-the-counter freezing or peeling treatments remove many people’s warts, but for resilient cases see your clinician when home remedies are not succeeding. Clinicians can treat warts in a variety of ways:
- Freezing (cryotherapy)
- Strong peeling medicine (salicylic acid)
- Laser treatment
Common symptoms of this condition can take time to get rid of and can be aesthetically displeasing, which is why prevention plays an important role. Keeping your skin and immune system healthy will be your best chance at avoiding contracting the virus, even if you unknowingly come into contact with it.