How To Remove Plantar Warts

Plantar warts which occur on the feet are more common in summertime. Here’s how to treat plantar warts.

Ah, summertime. Beach volleyball, swimming, plantar warts.

Plantar warts, or warts on the soles of your feet or toes, can occur anytime but are more prevalent during summer. That’s because plantar warts are caused by the human papilomavirus or HPV that thrives in warm, moist environments such as swimming pool decks, public showers, and locker rooms.

Plantar warts usually start as a black dot, grow bigger (typically to the size of a pencil eraser), remain below the skin’s surface, and can become painful. And they’re tenacious — they typically return in spite of proper treatment and like to spread.

Plantar wart treatment options include:

  • Over-the-counter topical wart removers with varying amounts of salicylic acid. You can use liquids, gels, or pads. Some familiar brand names are Dr. Scholl’s Wart Remover, Compound W, and Wart-Off. Whichever product you choose, be sure to follow package directions because over-application of these products can burn the skin. It’s also a good idea to soak the affected area in warm water for five minutes before applying the salicylic acid which will enhance the effects of the medication. It can take anywhere from 2 weeks to a few months for warts to resolve.
  • Cryotherapy at the doctor’s office. Your doctor will use very cold liquid nitrogen to freeze the wart off.
  • Minor surgery at the doctor’s office. Your doctor may excise the wart (using local anesthetic) if it has grown deeply into the skin and is causing a lot of pain.
  • Use duct-tape. Although duct tape actually makes warts go away, it’s not my first recommendation. There are less sticky ways (pun intended) of removing them, such those mentioned above. If you want to use duct-tape, however, here’s how: Apply duct tape to the wart and leave it on for six days. Remove for ½ a day. Reapply the duct tape on the following morning and leave it on for another six days. Repeat this process until the wart is gone. It can takes up to a few weeks to a few months to work. Please, don’t ever try this on genital warts.

Never, cut off a wart yourself; it can to lead to pain, stitches, infection, and scarring.

If the wart isn’t painful and you don’t mind the way it looks, then you could opt to leave it alone. Warts will eventually dissolve on their own, but it could as long as two years.

Even if you successfully remove the wart, it can come back and spread, because the treatment doesn’t kill the virus that causes them. If you have a history of recurrent warts, then talk with your doctor about pursuing more aggressive treatment options.

Photo credit: FFC, aussiegall

Seeing Spots: Brown, Liver, Age and Sun Spots

Sun spots are caused by excess sun exposure and can be best removed by cryotherapy and laser treatments.

Veronica Lake

Recently, while I was in Providence, RI my father-in-law pointed to the flurry of brown spots on the back of his hand and asked, “Are these liver spots?”

They’re not liver spots or age spots. Brown spots on the back of your hands are sun spots caused from excess sun exposure and aging. They have nothing to do with your liver.

They appear most commonly on the back of your hands, your face, and your forearms and are usually benign. The best prevention against developing sun spots is sunscreen and clothing.

The best treatments for removing sun spots are cryotherapy (having a dermatologist freeze them off with liquid nitrogen) or laser treatments. Bleaching creams and Retin-A do little to remove sun spots, while at-home treatments such as lemon juice and baking soda scrubs do nothing. Once the spots are removed, you must wear sunscreen or they’ll come back.

Or you could do like Veronica Lake did and wear glamorous long cotton or silk gloves. Course I don’t think I’ll recommend that to my father-in-law.

Photo credit: FCC, RobertHuffStutter