Contrary to urban legend, warts do not come from handling toads. They are, in fact, caused by viruses in the human papillomavirus (HPV) family. If home remedies have failed, if your warts are very large or widespread, or if they are located on your face or genital area, Dr. Gallacher can provide some highly effective treatment options.

What Are Warts?

Warts usually appear as small, bumpy, skin-colored mounds on the skin. Depending on the type, they can pop up anywhere on the body:

  • Plane or flat warts: legs, face
  • Dome-shaped warts: hands, fingers, feet, toes
  • Genital warts: external genital areas and between the thighs
  • Periungal warts: under or around the nails
  • Plantar warts: soles of the feet
  • Filiform warts: face

Warts are not usually painful (although plantar warts can be), but they are contagious. They can be transmitted by skin-to-skin contact. They can also be spread by contact with something that was touched by a person with warts, such as a towel or the floor at a public swimming pool. Genital warts are spread by sexual contact.

What Are the Treatment Options?

In most cases, the occasional simple wart can be treated at home. Daily applications of an over-the-counter remedy containing salicylic acid, such as Compound W®, are usually quite effective. It is important, however, to follow the directions carefully.

If home remedies have failed, if your warts are very large or widespread, or if they are located on your face or genital area, you should discuss treatment options with Dr. Gallacher.

Dr. Gallacher may apply liquid nitrogen to freeze the wart in order to remove it. This is called cryosurgery. It is sometimes combined with the application of salicylic acid.

A more recently developed option is laser surgery. Dr. Gallacher has distinguished expertise and a high level of precision in laser treatments. She may treat warts with a CO2 or pulse dye laser (PDL), such as the VBeam Perfecta, to direct a concentrated beam of light into the wart tissue. Although this is a quick procedure that usually leaves no scarring, temporary mild side effects may include:

  • Some pain during treatment (Topical anesthetic can be used to counter this.)
  • Redness, swelling, or itching
  • Mild burn or blistering
  • Changes in skin color
  • Bruising
  • Bacterial infection (Antibiotics will be prescribed in this case.)

You may need to cover the laser surgery site with a bandage for a few days. You should not expose it to the sun. Avoid swimming, saunas, hot baths, and abrasive skin cleansers until your skin has healed.

Depending on the type and number of warts, several sessions with the laser may be needed.