How to remove warts by a dermatologist?

Before going in depth on how to remove warts, it is crucial to clarify something important. Here in Spain and in Spanish-speaking countries, we usually call "warts" anything with relief on the skin.. Therefore, in this article you will not only learn how to remove warts, but also understand what these "warts" really are and the importance they have on our skin.

That's why I think it's so important to write this article, because we will not only see how to remove warts but we will also demystify a lot of thingssuch as:

  • What is really a wart and what is not? 
  • Which warts are contagious and which are not? 
  • Can we use home remedies to remove warts? 

My name is Sebastian Podlipnik and I am a dermatologist at the Hospital Clínic de Barcelona and in the Dermatological Diagnosis Clinic

Dermatoscopy Sebastian Podlipnik

What will I talk about in this article?

What are warts?

In this blog, I want to highlight a crucial point: not all bumps on the skin are "warts". There are various skin growths and excrescences that can have varied diagnoses and should not be confused with warts. It is essential to understand the difference and seek an appropriate diagnosis for each specific case.

Let's see the differences between the two!

1- Viral warts or simply "warts".

The True warts are benign growths on the skin caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV).. As they are produced by a virus, they are the true contagious warts, but they can only be is spread by skin-to-skin contact or by touching contaminated objects. Thus, warts are not transmitted through blood.

There are several types of warts depending on the type of papillomavirus (serotype). we have contracted. In other words, there is not only one type of papillomavirus, but many different types. 

The most common are:

  •  Common or vulgar warts which typically appear on the hands.
  • Plantar warts:  on the soles of the feet typically in children, although they are also frequent in adults.
  • Flat warts which are smaller and smoother and occur mainly on the face of children. 
  •  Genital warts or condylomas which are transmitted by sexual contact and affect the genital and anal area. Depending on the serotype, they could be a risk factor for the development of cervical or penile cancer. 
Let's review some pictures of viral warts (HPV): 
Illustration showing all types of warts that can be removed. Such as flat warts, genital warts, plantar warts and common warts.
Warts are harmless in most cases, but can be annoying or unsightly. Some disappear spontaneously over time, especially with a strong immune system, while others may require medical treatment for removal.Quote

2- Remaining skin bumps and growths

The rest of the "warts" are actually bumps on the skin that come in all shapes and sizes, and there are a lot of possibilities of what they can be. To make it more interesting, the diagnoses will be very different depending on the area of the body that is affected. 

Some of the most common are:

  • Moles or nevi
  • Epidermal cysts
  • Sebaceous hyperplasia
  • Lipomas
  • Seborrheic keratoses
  • Angiomas
  • Or even skin cancer can present itself as a "wart"!

Each has its own characteristics and requires different treatments. So, if you see any strange bumps or if something changes on your skin, it is very important that you go to a dermatologist. to have it checked. We will give you an accurate diagnosis and tell you what to do in each case.

To make it easier, we will review the main body sites where patients go for "wart removal" and look at the actual diagnoses with representative photos of each diagnosis. 

How to remove warts on the eyelids?

In the eyelids we can observe different types of protuberances with different diagnoses.  Let's review the most frequent causes for which patients come to my office to eliminate them. 

Let's get to it!

Illustration of warty eyelids

Millimetrial cysts of the eyelids

Photo of a patient showing millioma cysts on the eyelids.

Millium cysts are small yellowish-white bumps that form on the skin. due to the accumulation of keratin. If you have them, see the following link

Eyelid fibromas

patient who has multiple fibroids on the eyelids that look like warts

Eyelid fibroids are small, benign lumps caused by a overgrowth of connective tissue and fat.

I usually remove them with procedures such as cauterization or CO2 laser, since excellent results are obtained.

Syringomas on the eyelids

Syringomas on the eyelids of a patient who comes to the office to have these warts removed.

Syringomas are small benign protuberances that are related to the sweat glands. 

They do not represent a health risk, but can be aesthetically bothersome. Treatment with CO2 laser is an effective and safe option to eliminate syringomas.Quote

How to remove warts on the neck?

95% of the times a patient comes in to have "warts" removed on the neck they are actually acrochordons or fibroids. They are soft growths that protrude from the surface of the skin. Their appearance may vary, but they are usually the size of a grain of rice, and may be flesh-colored or darker. 

patient who has multiple neck warts or acrochordons

Facts about acrochordons in the neck

Cause of acrochordons in the neck

The exact causes of why acrochordons appear on the neck are not fully known, but it is known that they are more likely to be caused by to appear with lon age and on areas of the skin that rub against each other. They are also more common during pregnancy due to hormones, and tend to have a genetic component, i.e., if your parents had them, you are likely to develop them too.

And it is very important for you to know thate are not contagious nor are they caused by the use of neck chains. 

Treatment of acrochordons on the neck

Skin tags are usually harmless and there is no medical need to remove them. However, some people choose to remove them for cosmetic reasons or because they are bothersome. 

The safest way to remove skin tags is with the help of a dermatologist. My favorite methods due to their speed and excellent results include: 

  • Cutting with scissors after anesthesia with an anesthetic cream
  • CO2 laser

How to remove warts from the face?

In other areas of the face, excluding the eyelids, the reasons for consultation to remove "warts" vary slightly. Here, the The most common lesions are dermal moles, seborrheic keratoses and sebaceous hyperplasias.

Dermal or warty nevi

Dermal or warty nevi are one of the most frequent reasons for consultation I have in the office when it comes to "warts on the face". The nevus or moles arise from the growth of melanocyteswhich are the pigment-producing cells in the skin.

illustration showing the types of nevi and moles. There is a flat nevus and a warty nevus.

Looking at the graph above, you will see that there are roughly 2 types of moles:

  • Nevi or flat moles: are pigmented skin spots found at the level of the epidermis and are usually light or dark brown in color. 
  • Verrucous or dermal nevi: are raised bumps of pigment in the skin that develop in a deeper layer called the dermis and can be of different colors and shapes. 

Here is a before and after of a patient who came in to remove a dermal mole in the pre-auricular region. Look at the result!

Patient showing the before and after after removal of a mole that looked like a wart on the ear

Click on the button below and see that I have written a longer article, with a full and detailed explanation of safe and effective methods of mole removal, including options such as surgical and laser removal, as well as tips for aftercare of the treated area. 

Seborrheic keratoses

Seborrheic keratoses are another very frequent reason for consultation in my practice. They are benign and very common lesions that appear as raised brown, black or gray spots on the skin and are caused by the overgrowth of skin cells called keratinocytes.Quote
Laser removal of seborrheic keratoses
Seborrheic keratoses in a patient who reported a wart falling off

Fortunately Seborrheic keratoses respond very well when properly treated. I leave you a "Before and after" to know the result obtained after CO2 laser treatment of this type of lesions. 

In the following link find out all about seborrheic keratoses in my full article! You will find detailed information and useful tips to understand and treat these benign and common skin lesions.

Sebaceous hyperplasia

Finally, although there are many, many more causes of facial bumps, sebaceous hyperplasia is the most common. are small, benign, soft bumps that appear due to an overgrowth of the sebaceous glands. These skin lesions are common and generally do not represent a health risk. Quote

Sebaceous hyperplasia treated with the CO2 laser looks great! This laser does a precise job of removing those bumps without damaging the surrounding skin. The best part is that the skin recovers quickly and looks much better and smoother after treatment. 

Subsequently, I always recommend my patients to use a retinol cream to prevent their reappearance in the future. 

How to remove warts from the body?

I also have many patients who come to the office to remove "warts" from the body. In this case some diagnoses are repeated with those we have seen previously, but I will also include other frequent reasons for consultation of my patients. 

So we can see quite often: 

Seborrheic keratoses on the body

As in the face there can also be seborrheic keratoses on the body. Their frequency increases with age and they probably have a very important genetic component as I mentioned previously. 

Often, patients come to the office with these lesions that have been present for years, which are of great aesthetic concern and have affected their self-esteem. Often, they are unaware that it is possible to remove them, but with the right treatment, we can help them to remove them completely. 

If you want to know in detail how we eliminate seborrheic keratoses, I recommend you to click on the following link to see the complete process.

Angiomas or red spots or ruby spots

Many times my patients come to me to remove "red warts" that have appeared on their bodies, when in fact they are angiomas or ruby spots. These are small benign skin lesions that appear as small red or purplish spots on the skin, and are caused by dilated blood vessels.Quote
Detail of red moles or red dots on the skin of an elderly patient with photodamage.

Find out how to remove ruby spots or angiomas in my full article below! Click on the link to see the detailed process and you will also find videos that will show you how we remove them with the laser. 

How to remove warts from the armpits?

Almost always patients who come in for underarm wart removal have fibroids or acrochordons. Underarm fibroids are small, benign, soft bumps that can be bothersome because of their location and friction with clothing. You can see more in the section on how to remove warts on the neck that I already talked about this topic. 

Removal is a safe and simple procedure that can be performed by methods such as surgical excision, cauterization, cryotherapy or laser, always with prior evaluation by a dermatologist.

A few words about warts and skin cancer

It is important to note that in some cases, warts or bumps on the skin can be a manifestation of skin cancer. While most warts are benign and do not pose a health risk, it is essential to pay attention to any changes in their size, shape, color or texture. 

Therefore, before any treatment or wart removal, it is essential to visit a dermatologist for an evaluation to rule out any possible complications.

If you are interested, in this article I leave you a summary of what skin cancer can look like. 

Conclusions on how to remove warts

In this article on how to remove warts by a dermatologist, you have learned fundamental things and we have reviewed different diagnoses. It is crucial to differentiate viral warts (HPV) from other skin growths and to avoid self-medication. or home methods that could worsen the situation.

It is key that you leave this issue in the hands of experts for proper treatment. Do not risk with home remedies, better consult a pro to get rid of those warts without drama and with excellent aesthetic results!

In summary, my article gives you the most important fact: trust a dermatologist to say goodbye to warts simply and without drama. Expert hands are the key!

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Sebastian Podlipnik - Skin cancer

Sebastian Podlipnik

Dermatology Blog

I am a dermatologist and cum laude MD and author of multiple research studies. I specialize in skin cancer, laser technologies and cosmetic dermatology. The intention of this blog is to bring you closer to topics of interest in dermatology and research.

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