The virus lives in warm, moist environments like locker rooms or infected human hands, which are touched and shaken often during the day. Warts are contagious and pass to the body through a recently injured area of skin. The color of most common warts can be grayish or flesh-colored, and they appear raised the surface of the skin with rough, hornlike juts.
It can take up to eight months for the wart to appear after exposure. It is also possible for someone to carry the human papillomavirus his entire life and never develop a wart.
Doctors typically send skin scrapings or coring samples from biopsies to a lab to evaluate warts before determining treatment, but there are some self-care treatments that wart sufferers can perform at home to ease the appearance or spread of warts.
A preventive practice to fight against face warts is staying as hygienic as possible. This means washing hands frequently and avoiding touching the hands of strangers. It also means being careful about using shared towels like the ones in home bathrooms.
Face warts are flat, pink or yellow warts that grow in clusters. They most often are called filiform warts and have long, narrow growths that look like threads sticking out of them, but they do not cause any pain. Men tend to get them from shaving. Traditional wart removal procedures performed by doctors are avoided most of the time for face warts because they can leave scarring. Doctors freeze the wart in liquid nitrogen or use a laser to remove it.
At home, wart remedies involve using waterproof adhesive tape and salicylic acid. The adhesive tape occlusion remedy works mostly because it creates an airtight environment for the area beneath the tape and the virus is not allowed to spread.
To perform the adhesive tape remedy, cover the area where the warts appear with several layers of tape. Keep the tape on the skin for 6 1/2 days before removing. Once removed, allow the skin area to breath for 12 hours. Reapply the tape for 6 1/2 days again. Eventually, the wart shrinks, and the area will scab over until the wart falls off.
Salicylic acid is available over the counter. It comes either as a liquid to paint on the wart or as a plaster to be cut out and placed on the wart tissue. To use the salicylic acid:
Soak the affected area in warm water for about five to 10 minutes.
Pare down the wart with a razor. This does involve carefully scraping the wart with the blade of a disposable razor, but it should not be shaved to the point of bleeding.
Apply the salicylic to the wart according to the instructions on the packet. It is important to only apply it to the wart because it can damage healthy skin.
An alternative solution to salicylic acid has been organic apple cider vinegar. A gauze is soaked in the vinegar and applied to the area. A bandage holds the gauze in place. This should be done at night before bed and repeated for three to five days until results are noticeable.
Salicylic acid is still an effective remedy for warts on the neck. Neck warts should be confirmed by a doctor, though, because it is easy to mistake skin tags or moles for warts. To treat warts on the neck:
Hold a warm wet cloth to the neck for 10 to 15 minutes. This softens the dead skin on the wart. Use a pumice stone or an emery board to file down the wart. Similar paring down was done with a disposable razor for face warts. This ensures the salicylic acid can absorb into the wart better.
Apply salicylic acid the same as instructed for face warts, but repeat process about every 24 hours until the wart is gone. This may take several weeks.
Because warts on the lips are much more sensitive and there is a much higher chance of getting salicylic acid in the mouth, home remedies are not recommended. It is best to schedule an appointment with a doctor and have the wart removed professionally. The procedure could involve using electrocautery (electric current through a heated needle), liquid nitrogen or using a scalpel or scissors.
Nose warts are often filiform warts like those that can grow on the face. It is best to use the waterproof tape occlusion method described for warts on the face to remove warts on the nose. Salicyclic acid damage could occur if the solution accidentally gets into a nasal passage. The avoid even the lightest risk, adhesive tape is the best home remedy. For these warts, some doctors have used cantharadin, which is injected into the site of the wart. It creates a blister beneath the wart and lifts the wart off the skin.
For the most part, eyelid warts tend to be filiform warts that stick out in flat projections from the eyelid and sometimes slightly obstruct sight. They can be removed using the tape occlusion home remedy as well. The eyelids should not be treated with any liquid over the counter solutions. Direct contact with the eyes could cause permanent damage. Small pieces of tape work for removing these warts and they should be removed with extra care.
An effective non-liquid remedy for eyelid warts has been silver nitrate sticks sold over the counter. They look like matchsticks with all of the silver nitrate concentrated toward the end of the stick. One danger of using silver nitrate sticks is the silver nitrate can dissolve and accidentally burn other parts of the body. The burned area should be flushed immediately with a saline solution followed by water. As much as possible, it is important to wear some type of protection on the eyes.