Warts are embarrassing and unsightly growths that seem to pop up out of nowhere! Although some people believe that warts can be caught from toads, this is nothing but an old wives’ tale. Although there are over 100 types of HPV, the virus the causes warts, the most common type of wart is called the “Common Wart”. Those are the types that generally grow on your fingers and toes. This is the type I contracted – and they were no joke!
Several years ago, I joined a local gym and started using their equipment on a daily basis. After several months, I noticed a small bump growing on my thumb. I thought it was just a small scab, so I ignored it. When it did not disappear after a few weeks, I started doing my own research via the internet. I soon discovered that I had contracted the warts virus!
I was disgusted with the prospect of having unsightly hands, so I waged an all-out battle on my warts! Soon, I noticed that I had several on my fingers and on the palms of my hands. I was absolutely terrified! They were growing and multiplying very quickly – so I took action to eliminate those ugly little growths from my hands.
Below are the tips that I learned and the steps that I took to eliminated my horrible case of the warts!
1.) Beginners Tips
Common warts have a rough, almost grainy feeling to them and have a rounded top. When submerged in water for about 5 minutes, they have a swollen appearance with white, flaky skin.
Yes, warts are contagious! You can contract warts by shaking hands with someone who has warts on their hand. You can also get warts from inanimate objects. I contracted warts at the gym – most likely from weights that were used by someone with warts. (I also had several warts on the palm of my hands where the weights rested)
Biting your fingernails, picking your cuticles, and pulling hangnails can also contribute to the spread of warts. Since I had the bad habit of biting my nails when I was nervous, I had to work very hard to not bite my nails during my treatments.
Dermatologists still do not know why certain people are more likely to contract warts than others. It is always associated with a person’s immune system – some have built up defenses against the warts virus, while others have not. My dermatologist said that my immune system refused to fight this virus – the main reason it spread and grew so quickly.
2.) Don’t Try the Natural Route
While I am a HUGE believer in natural remedies for some conditions, don’t waste your time with the warts virus. I tried it all! I took garlic supplements several times a day. I tried to suffocate it with duct tape and even bandaged garlic to the wart. I used tea tree oil, apple cider vinegar, vitamin C paste, baking soda, and a bunch of other natural remedies. NOTHING WORKED! If anything, it seemed to make them worse.
If I could go back, I would go straight to the dermatologist and have them treated – skipping all the wasted time with natural remedies.
3.) Skip the Drugstore “Freeze Off” Kits
My second failed attempt was with Dr. Scholl’s Dual Action Wart Remover Kit. It only cost about $20 at Walgreens, but it was very unsuccessful. Not only did I not know what amount of “freezing liquid” the warts needed, I also was timid of freezing my own skin. Although I meticulously followed the directions, the warts did not get smaller. In fact, they got much worse. They began to grow so quickly, I started to panic.
4.) Liquid Nitrogen Treatment
My first doctor’s visit was to my primary physician. She attempted to remove the warts by freezing them with liquid nitrogen treatments – called cryotherapy. This felt like an ice cube being held against my skin for about 10-15 seconds. Over the course of the next few hours, my skin started to hurt, turn red, and formed into a blister. After a few days, a scab formed in place of the blister. Several weeks later, the wart WAS SUPPOSED to shrink and fall off with the scab. Unfortunately, they seemed to grow more resistant to the treatment and continue to grow.
Although this method is typically successful, my warts had grown too large for this treatment.
5.) Cantharidine Treament – “Beetle Juice”
After my primary physician was unable to treat my warts, I went to a dermatology specialist. I regret not going to a dermatologist from the beginning! They are specialized in skin treatment and could have saved me a lot of time and pain.
The dermatologist tried several more rounds of liquid nitrogen, but realized this was not helping. He then decided to use the topical cantharidine treatment – often called “beetle juice” because it is a substance derived from the blister beetle. This substance was painted onto my warts and a bandage put over top of them. Over the next 24-48 hours, my skin reacted to the treatment and formed blisters. This treatment causes cells to release an enzyme that breaks down the skin, breaking the bond that holds the wart together. I found this treatment to be painful for the first 8 hours, but it quickly subsided after that.
Once again, 2 rounds of this were unsuccessful. The dermatologist was very surprised that my body was so resistant to the treatments! It was almost like my body was fighting the treatments, so it could provide the warts with a healthy environment to thrive.
6.) Laser Surgery
After several unsuccessful treatments, I was sent to another dermatology specialist who performed laser surgery on my warts. Laser surgery is typically used as a last resort, when all other treatments have failed and the warts have grown large and resistant. The downside to this treatment is that it often leaves scars – something I was not worried about. One of my warts had grown under a fingernail, and laser surgery was the most effective way to treat this type of wart.
A general anesthetic was injected into the area around the warts. Then, the wart and the surrounding areas were treated with the laser. Immediately after the laser beam came into contact with the skin, it had the appearance of burnt flesh. The good thing is – I couldn’t feel anything because of the anesthetic! The doctor then bandaged up the treatment areas and gave me instructions on how to clean the wounds. She also instructed me to TAKE PAIN KILLERS IMMEDIATELY! The anesthetic wore off after an hour and I my hands felt like they were on fire! I had to leave work I was in so much pain. However, 12 hours later, the pain had subsided and a large burn blister appeared. I was excited because I could already see a difference in the size of the warts.
7.) Final Results
After 3 treatments of laser surgery, my warts were completely gone! After 1 ½ years of having unsightly warts, I could finally show my hands in public again! However, because one of the warts had been under a fingernail, the nail bed was slightly damaged by the treatments. Over the next 6 months, the nail started growing back and looking normal. The laser surgery caused minor scarring, so I applied vitamin E to the affected areas. Now, 3 years later, I can hardly see the scars.
8.) How to prevent warts
The best way to prevent the warts virus is to wash your hands thoroughly and regularly. If you work out at a gym, ALWAYS clean the equipment thoroughly before touching it (wear gloves if lifting weights). Always wear protective sandals in the gym locker room and shower. Stop biting your fingernails, picking your cuticles, and pulling out hangnails. These contribute to the spread of warts to other parts of your body. Keep your hands and feet dry – don’t wear sweaty shoes or gloves. Warts thrive in warm, damp environments.
I have been WART FREE for several years! It brings me so much joy to look down at my hands and not see a single wart. Because of my wart-prone skin, I stopped going to the gym. Instead, I chose to purchase my own equipment and work out at home. My single-most important piece of advice to you would be “GO TO A DERMATOLOGIST IMMEDIATELY”! Skip the natural remedies and family doctor – go straight to the specialist. Get professionally treated and stop the spread of warts!
If you have any questions about this article, just let us know in the comment section below! We’d be happy to help you out!