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Warts on the Face

One adjective that a person can give for a wart is “disgusting”. It is disgusting to look at, disgusting to touch. Its presence alone is disgusting! A person with a wart who is reading this article would surely want it to be out of his body. Other than research, why else would you be reading this article?

Well, read along as you encounter the disgusting nature of warts and how to get rid of them. We will concentrate on warts in the face that steal away your beauty.

What is a Facial Wart?

Facial warts, also known as filiform or digitate warts, are small clusters of finger-like outgrowths in the facial skin, often seen around the eyelids and lips. These are elevated and rough lumps that often look like solid blisters. [1]

Types, Causes, and Pictures

The single main cause of facial warts is viral infection from human papilloma virus (HPV) strains [2]. Warts are generally harmless. But who wants to have an abnormal outgrowth in the skin? Of course no one does. Let us explore the types and causes of warts on the face and how they look like.

Flat Wart

Flat wart, also known as juvenile wart or Verruca plana, is a painless, flat-topped 1-2 mm wart formed in clusters (up to 100). It is caused by HPV strains 3, 10, 28, and 49. It can present itself as skintone, yellow, brown, or pink color. Flat warts multiply quickly and they are very contagious. [3, 4] Its favorite spot in the face is the forehead because it is warm and moist [4].

Picture of Flat Warts found on face, neck, arms, back of the hands, and legs
Image Source: Illustration copyright 2000 by Nucleus Communications, Inc.

Picture of actual flat warts on the face.
Image Source: taqidoc.com

Picture of flat warts on the cheek and neck.
Image Source: ADAM

Filiform Wart

Unlike the flat wart which is flat-topped and round, filiform wart is long, thin, and threadlike protuberance in the skin, particularly in the face where it likes to grow. They do not appear in clusters but instead, it occurs singularly in most cases. [3, 5] Though they do not form in group, they are still very contagious. Sometimes, filiform wart can also be painful because of its location. Most grow in the eyelids and lips, which are quite sensitive parts of the face. Filiform wart is causes HPV strains 1, 2, 4, 27, and 29. [5]

Picture of a filiform wart.

A filiform wart can be colored skintone and has a size of 1-3 mm.
Image Source: Elsevier 2004

Transmission of the HPV

Warts are caused by different strains of human papillovirus (HPV) as discussed. This means they can be contagious when the virus enters a broken skin. The virus can be spread to other parts of the body and to other people. This happens when you introduce the virus into an open area of your skin.

Transmission of HPV happens when a lacerated hand touches that part of the body where the wart is, or when sharing towels with people who have warts.

Warts usually disappear for a few weeks or months after having them. Unfortunately, there are cases when they just don’t want to leave your body and you might have it for years. Some are even stubborn that they reappear even after they have been removed.

How long the virus stays with you depends on your age and how your body fights it. HPV tends to cling longer to older children and adults. Immunosuppressed individuals, such as those with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) will have it for a long time because the body’s immune system is not strong enough to fight the virus. [6]

How to Get Rid of Facial Warts

Overtime, warts disappear by itself, even without treatment [6]. But no one wants to have a wart for too long. Almost everybody who has a wart wants it removed immediately.

However, a wart may return even after it disappears [6]. No one knows when it will occur again. So please be noted that no treatment can reassure you of not having that wart in the same location in the future [6].

Nevertheless, let us explore the available treatments and procedures in getting rid of warts.

Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid has shown promising results in removing warts. Though it may take days or weeks before the wart is visually gone. Before applying salicylic acid to the area where the wart is, that area must be soaked first in a warm water to help soften the wart [7]. To apply the salicylic acid for face wart removal, you need to use tools like scrub brush, blade, or pumice stone.

Topical Creams

Tretinoin, benzoyl peroxide, imiquimod, and 5-fluorouracil are used for flat warts to induce peeling [8]. By peeling itself, the wart gradually disappears.

Candida or Trichophyton Injections

Sometimes, an injection of Candida or Trichophyton antigens is used for treating wart on face. This injection is pushed by the side of the wart and it helps the immune system work faster. However, this has not shown any significant result on wart treatment yet.

Freezing with Liquid Nitrogen

For filiform warts, liquid nitrogen can be used. In this method, liquid nitrogen is used at -70 Fahrenheit over the warts with a spray. One problem with use of liquid nitrogen is depigmentation of the skin which can be permanent [8].

Cryotherapy

This may be the most common treatment for warts because it is not painful though repeated treatment may be necessary [7].

Electrosurgery and Curettage

A curette will scrape off the wart before or after using electrosurgery [7].

Excision

With the use of a blade or scalpel, the wart will be cut out and removed [7].

Laser Treatment

If anything else doesn’t work out, laser treatment may be the option to remove that stubborn wart [7].  The pulse dye laser works by eliminating blood cells and carbon dioxide laser works with water molecules. Both of them are painful and expensive. The latter even creates some permanent scars on the face. To be fully cured from the laser treatment, it takes from one to four sessions.

 

References:

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wart
  2. http://wart-treatment.org/facial-warts-filiform-warts/
  3. http://www.ehow.com/about_5039001_causes-warts-face.html
  4. http://www.flatwartsonface.com/
  5. http://www.filiformwart.com/
  6. http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Warts/Pages/Treatment.aspx
  7. http://tabibianmd.com/condition_warts.html
  8. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/dermatologic_disorders/viral_skin_diseases/warts.html



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