Verruca vulgaris is the Latin phrase for a common wart. MedicineNet.com defines a wart as a local growth of the epidermis caused by the human papilloma virus. While not considered a health threat, warts can be embarrassing, itchy or painful. Though verruca vulgaris often goes away on its own within two years, you may choose wart removal for cosmetic or discomfort reasons.
Most over-the-counter wart treatments involve salicylic acid, either in a liquid form or in patches you can place over the wart. The salicylic acid peels away the infected skin. Wart treatment by this method takes several weeks and requires daily applications. The Mayo Clinic recommends soaking your wart in warm water for 10 to 20 minutes and then using a pumice stone or nail file to remove any dead skin from the wart before you apply the salicylic acid wart treatment.
Retinoids, derived from vitamin A, interfere with verruca vulgaris skin cell growth. Retinoids come as oral medication or as a topical cream. Retinoids increase sun sensitivity, making sun protection necessary during wart treatment. Bleomycin, used to treat some kinds of cancer, can achieve wart removal in small doses. This wart treatment carries serious risks; possible side effects include nail loss and damage to your skin and nerves.
By using liquid nitrogen, your doctor can freeze your wart, causing a blister to form around and under it, killing the wart tissue, which sloughs off within two weeks. Risks of this treatment include permanent damage to your nail bed or the nerves in the area that was treated with liquid nitrogen. An alternative to freezing, cantharidin, a blister beetle extract, works by causing a blister to form under your wart. Your doctor then removes the dead part of the verruca vulgaris.
To treat verruca vulgaris that has not responded to any other therapy, your doctor may recommend surgery for wart removal. Minor surgery involves either cutting away wart tissue or destroying it with an electric needle, called electrodessication and curettage. These procedures require a local anesthetic and can leave a scar. Laser surgery removes the wart by cutting it away with a laser, which can also leave a scar. Laser surgery can be very expensive, and typically is a last resort for wart removal.
Duct tape, according to the Mayo Clinic, may be a cheap alternative for wart removal. Though two separate studies on duct tape's effectiveness have returned opposing results, the Mayo Clinic recommends trying this first before moving onto more costly and painful wart treatments. Oil-based garlic solution and topical vitamin D-3 patches have shown promise in clinical trials, but each natural wart treatment has only had a single trial so far, requiring further studies to prove effectiveness.
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