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Warts are a common nuisance that is not considered dangerous, but since they disturb the appearance of the skin and often hurt, they should be removed.

About warts

Warts are basically benign growths or lesions that appear on the skin, caused by human papillomavirus, or HPV. There are several different types of warts, classified by their appearance and location on the body. The most common types include filiform warts, plantar warts, mosaic warts and genital warts. Genital warts are often considered separately, as they appear in the genital lesion and they should be examined by a specialist for that area.

Human papillomavirus can be found anywhere, but it prefers warm and damp environment, like public showers, swimming pools, bathroom stalls and similar. If a healthy person with a strong immune system encounters this virus, he or she will not necessarily get infected and develop warts. However, if there is a drop in the immune system, for example after an illness or due to different medical conditions, or if there are tiny scrapes and cuts in the skin, the virus can penetrate, spread and cause warts.

Sometimes warts go away on their own after some time. Those who do not want to wait for that or whose warts cause pain, discomfort or embarrassment, there are several efficient ways to get rid of them.

How to remove warts

Warts can be removed by a doctor or using natural remedies.

Conventional medicine offers several wart removal methods. There is laser removal, which is a bit expensive and may require more than one session. There is also cryosurgery, which uses liquid nitrogen to freeze the wart so it falls off. A wart can be removed using elecrodessication, which uses electrical current, or with surgical curettage, where the tissue is scraped with a knife.

There are also over-the-counter remedies for topical applications, which can be quite effective. The main ingredient in most ointments, gels and plasters is salicylic acid, which eats away the wart, but it should be applied for at least four weeks, while being careful not to allow the acid to touch the healthy surrounding skin.

Other over-the-counter remedies include imiquimod and trichoro acetic acid.

As for the natural methods, some swear by the duct tape method, which however requires some time and patience. Others use tea tree oil or aloe vera gel, lemon slices soaked in apple cider vinegar, banana peel, garlic, raw potatoes, vitamin E and Echinacea.

The problem with warts is that even when they are removed, if the virus is still present in the body, they can come back. Therefore it is important to eat healthy and make slight lifestyle modifications in order to boost the immune system so it can fight and expel the virus.

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