This time in our blog we will take a closer look at warts, also known as verruca vulgaris. Warts are a common dermatological problem that affects both adults and children. In this blog we discuss in detail what warts are, what causes them, how contagious they are and the treatment options available, including their pros and cons.
What Are Warts (Verruca Vulgaris)?
Warts are small, hard lumps on the skin caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Verruca vulgaris is the most common form of warts and mainly occurs on hands, fingers.
VERRUCA VULGARIS The common wart, also known as verruca vulgaris, is a round, sharply circumscribed, highly keratinized growth with a cauliflower-like appearance. The most striking feature is the strong cornification Usually multiple warts appear, mainly on the hands, sometimes on the knees, elbows and face.
Wart variants are:
VERRUCA PLANTARIS: The plantar wart, also known as verruca plantaris, is found on the sole of the foot. Two types can be distinguished: the mosaic wart (which grows superficially) and the thorn wart (painful and growing deeper). Plantar warts are also accompanied by strong cornification. They can occur in both children and adults.
VERRUCA PLANA: The flat wart, also known as verruca plana, is a smooth, flat bump that is only a few millimeters in size. It has a skin-colored or light brown tint. Usually they occur in large numbers and are mainly seen on the face, arms and legs.
Besmettelijkheid van verruca vulgaris:
Verruca vulgaris, also known as common warts, is caused by infection with different HPV strains.
Verrucae vulgares, both plantaris (foot warts) and palmaris (hand warts), are most commonly caused by HPV types 1, 2, 4, and 57. On the other hand, verrucae planae (flat warts) are usually caused by HPV types 3 and 10.
How does this infection take place:
- Transmission of the HPV virus is usually transmitted through direct contact with infected skin or objects that have come into contact with the virus. This can happen through shaking hands, sharing personal items such as towels, razors, or nail clippers, or through direct contact with infected skin surfaces.
- Skin Entry: The HPV virus enters the top layer of the skin, the epidermis, through minor blemishes in the skin, such as cuts, abrasions, scratches, or cracked skin. These damages can be caused by activities such as shaving, scratching or exposure to rough surfaces. The virus can penetrate the surface cells of the skin and then multiply.
- Process of infection: Once the HPV virus has entered the skin, it begins to multiply in the cells of the surface layer of the skin, the epithelial cells. Process of infection: Once the HPV virus has entered the skin, it begins to multiply in the cells of the surface layer of the skin, the epithelial cells. This leads to the characteristic raised, rough and cauliflower-like texture of Verruca vulgaris.
These warts can be easily passed from person to person.
- Transmission by direct contact: The warts can be transmitted by direct contact with the wart itself. This can happen from shaking hands, sharing personal items such as towels, razors, or nail clippers, or from direct contact with the wart on other parts of the body. The virus can enter the skin through small cuts, broken skin, or the thin layers of skin between the fingers and toes.
- Contaminated surfaces: Verruca vulgaris can also be transmitted through contact with contaminated surfaces. For example, if a person with warts touches an object, such as doorknobs, sports equipment, swimming pool surfaces, or public showers, the virus can remain on those surfaces. If another person then touches the contaminated surface and then touches his or her skin, the virus can be transmitted.
- High-risk groups: People with weakened immune systems, such as children, the elderly, or those with immunodeficiency, are at higher risk of infection. Their immune system may not be able to fight the virus effectively, increasing the chance of infection.
It is important to note that the contagiousness of Verruca vulgaris varies from person to person and also depends on the condition of the warts. Warts are most contagious when they are actively growing and visible on the surface of the skin. People who carry the HPV virus may not have visible warts, but they can still infect others.
To prevent the spread of Verruca vulgaris, the following precautions are recommended:
- Avoid direct contact with other people’s warts.
- Avoid sharing personal items such as towels, socks, shoes, or nail clippers.
- Wear flip flops in public showers and swimming pools to avoid contact with contaminated surfaces.
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, especially after touching warts or contaminated surfaces.
- Cover warts with a waterproof plaster or bandage to reduce the risk of spreading.
Treatments for verruca vulgaris:
- Topical treatments:
- Salicylic acid: A common treatment that gradually breaks down the top layer of the wart. It may take several weeks to months for results to be visible.
- Cryotherapy: This involves freezing the wart with liquid nitrogen, causing the tissues to die. It can cause some discomfort and multiple treatment sessions are often necessary.
- Electrocauter or laser treatments:
- Electrocautery: This involves burning away the wart with an electrically charged instrument. It can cause discomfort and scarring.
- Laser therapy: use of a laser to destroy the wart. It can be effective, but it can be accompanied by pain and scarring.
- Surgical treatments:
- Curettage: In this procedure, the doctor scrapes off the wart using a curette (a sharp spoon). It can cause local discomfort and scarring.
- Excision: In some cases, a wart can be excised with a scalpel. This may be considered if the wart is large or does not respond well to other treatments. It may take some time for the wound area to heal completely
- Duct tape is a non-conventional treatment method sometimes used in the treatment of warts. While the use of duct tape for warts is much debated, it is important to understand that there is limited scientific evidence to support its effectiveness. Proponents of using duct tape believe it smothers the wart and stimulates the immune system to deal with the virus. The process usually involves applying duct tape to the wart for a period of time, such as several weeks, followed by removing and scraping the wart.
Pros and cons of treatments:
Topical treatments are generally safe, readily available and can be applied at home. However, they often take a longer time before results are visible.
Salicylic acid is commonly used in various skin care products such as acne treatments, exfoliants, warts and callus removers. Salicylic acid can be produced synthetically as well as obtained from natural sources. In nature, salicylic acid occurs in various plant species, in particular in the bark of the willow tree (Salix) and the bark of the mulberry (Morus). Historically, salicylic acid was extracted from the bark of willow trees, hence the name “salicylic acid” which is derived from the Latin word for willow (Salix).
Benefits of Salicylic Acid Treatment: Availability: Salicylic acid is available in various forms, such as creams, gels, and patches, and is available without a prescription. Usually safe: Salicylic acid is generally safe to use and usually has few side effects.
Disadvantages of Salicylic Acid Treatment: Possible Skin Irritation: Salicylic acid can cause skin irritation such as redness, itching or a burning sensation in some people. There are different salicylic acid concentrations, ranging from 5% to 40%. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use caution when applying to sensitive areas. Not suitable for all warts: Salicylic acid may be effective on common warts, but it may be less effective on stubborn or deeper warts.
Cryotherapy, a treatment that freezes warts with liquid nitrogen, is another common option. Here are some pros and cons of cryotherapy:
Benefits of cryotherapy: Fast treatment: Cryotherapy can freeze warts quickly, which can lead to faster results compared to some other treatments. Widely Applicable: Cryotherapy can be used for various types of warts, including common warts, plantar warts and genital warts. Relatively safe: Cryotherapy is generally safe, but there may be some side effects, such as pain, redness, or blistering.
Disadvantages of cryotherapy: Painful: Cryotherapy can cause discomfort and pain during treatment, especially in sensitive areas or deeper warts. Potential expansion of warts: In some cases, cryotherapy can produce paradoxical results, with the wart enlarging or spreading after treatment, especially with plantar warts. Requires Multiple Treatments: Multiple cryotherapy sessions, spaced several weeks apart, may be required for effective results. Dit kan de behandelduur verlengen.
Physical treatments, such as electrocautery and laser therapy, can be effective options for wart removal. The pros and cons of these treatments are discussed in more detail below:
Benefits of physical treatments: Effective removal: Electrocautery and laser therapy can be very effective in wart removal, especially for deeper and more stubborn warts that are difficult to treat with other methods. Targeted approach: With physical treatments, the doctor can treat the wart accurately and in a targeted manner, sparing surrounding healthy tissue as much as possible. Fast results: These treatments can often be done in a single visit to the doctor, and results are usually visible immediately. This means that you may get rid of your warts faster than with other treatments.
Disadvantages of physical treatments: Discomfort: Physical treatments may be accompanied by some discomfort, such as pain, burning or tingling at the treated area. The intensity of the discomfort can vary depending on the size and location of the wart. Risk of scarring: While electrocautery and laser therapy are generally safe, there may be a risk of scarring, especially with deeper warts. It is important to have the procedure performed by an experienced professional to minimize the risk of scarring. Possible side effects: Sometimes side effects can occur after physical treatments, such as redness, swelling or temporary changes in the pigmentation of the skin. These side effects are usually mild and go away on their own.
Surgical treatments can be an effective option for warts, especially when other treatments have proven unsuccessful. Here are some pros and cons of surgical wart treatments:
Advantages of surgical treatments: Fast results: Surgical procedures can remove warts quickly, often during a single visit to the doctor or dermatologist. Suitable for stubborn warts: Surgical treatments can be helpful in removing stubborn warts that have not responded well to other treatments. Immediate Removal: Surgical procedures can remove warts directly, meaning that the wart is usually completely removed during the procedure.
Disadvantages of surgical treatments: Risk of scarring: Surgical procedures can carry the risk of scarring, especially with deeper or larger warts. It is important to perform the procedure with proper technique and care to minimize the risk of scarring. Required medical visit: Unlike some other treatments, surgical procedures usually require a visit to a doctor or dermatologist. This can entail extra time and costs. Possible side effects: While surgical procedures are generally safe, there may be some side effects, such as pain, swelling, bleeding, or infection. Het is belangrijk om de instructies van de arts op te volgen en eventuele complicaties te melden.
Duct tape is a non-conventional treatment method sometimes used in the treatment of warts. While the use of duct tape for warts is much debated, it is important to understand that there is limited scientific evidence to support its effectiveness.
Proponents of using duct tape believe it smothers the wart and stimulates the immune system to deal with the virus. The process usually involves applying duct tape to the wart for a period of time, such as several weeks, followed by removing and scraping the wart.
Benefits of Duct Tape: Cost: Duct tape is generally inexpensive and readily available. Benefits of Duct Tape: Cost: Duct tape is generally inexpensive and readily available. Possible Effectiveness: Some studies suggest that using duct tape may be effective on some warts.
Disadvantages of Duct Tape: Discomfort and Skin Irritation: Wearing duct tape on the skin can cause discomfort and irritation, especially for people with sensitive skin. Delay in seeking professional help. More about duct tape and warts
- It is important to emphasize that self-treatment of warts is not always effective and can sometimes lead to complications or the spread of the infection. Always consult a dermatologist for proper diagnosis and treatment.
- Avoiding direct contact with warts and taking precautions such as wearing slippers in public areas can help prevent the spread of the virus.
- Strengthening the immune system by following a healthy lifestyle, such as regular exercise, adequate sleep and a balanced diet, can help prevent and fight warts.
In other words
Verruca vulgaris, also known as warts, is a common skin condition caused by the HPV virus. It is contagious and can cause discomfort and aesthetic concerns. Fortunately, several treatment options are available, ranging from topical treatments to physical and surgical procedures. It is essential to consult a dermatologist for proper diagnosis and treatment based on the individual situation. Taking preventative measures and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help prevent warts