The skin growths that appear on the skin due to rapid cell division of the outer skin layer are called warts. These warts are caused by a virus called human papillomavirus (HPV). These HPV warts, although appear like a mole, they are not the same. These warts are also non-cancerous in nature. The HPV warts generally appear on the hands and fingers. The different types of HPV warts on hands are harmless skin growths that usually disappear on their own. Warts tend to become a persistent problem as they tend to reappear even after successful treatment.
Warts on Hands : Types
Warts are usually skin colored, and are rough to touch. They may appear anywhere on the body like face, eyelids, feet, fingers and hands. Some warts even appear on the genitals and are called genital warts. There are different types of warts and their appearance depends on their location as follows:
Common warts are small, hard bumps that have a dome shape. They are mostly grayish brown in color and have a rough surface. Sometimes they look like a cauliflower head that has black dots. These warts commonly appear on the fingers, hands, knees and elbows.
Flat warts are very small in size, like a pin head. They are pink, light brown or yellow in color. They are a lot smoother than other warts and generally appear on the face of children. They can even develop on hands, arms and knees.
These warts appear on the sole of the foot. They are also called "Verruca plantaris". This makes it very uncomfortable to walk and painful as well. The pressure placed on foot while walking or standing, causes these warts to grow inwards and form a very hard, thick layer of skin (callus).
The filiform warts skin colored, long, narrow,finger-like growths. They appear near the mouth, eyes and nose on their own or in clusters. These generally appear on the face and therefore called facial warts. However, they are very contagious and may spread through sharing towels, napkins, etc. A person may observe growth of their warts on other parts of the body like hands or fingers, after one touches them.
Causes of Warts on Hands
As we know, there are different types of warts that appear on hands. The causes of warts on hands is getting infected with HPV virus. It is very contagious and can easily get transmitted from person to person. A small cut on the hand, near the fingers can allow the virus to enter the skin. There are over a hundred different types of HPV strains and each one infects a specific part on the body. The exact cause of the HPV virus is still unknown and thus, there is no cure for the virus itself. The virus tends to pass on by touching objects, sharing towels, used by a person exposed to the virus. Once infected, it takes about 2 to 6 months to develop into a wart. However, each individual is different and some may never develop a wart, even if the virus is inside their body.
Warts on Hands : Treatment
There is no treatment for the HPV virus, but one can get rid of the embarrassing warts appearing on hands. There are different treatments for removal of these different types of hand warts. These include:
Application of salicylic acid on the warts will help remove them. One needs to take a shower and then apply the salicylic acid on the wart. This is because the acid gets absorbed better when applied on damp skin. Soon, the warts will dry and one can scrub them off using a emery board or pumice stone.
Cantharidin is a chemical that is used to apply over the warts. This will cause a little bit of pain and blistering on the wart for about 3 to 8 hours after application. A bandage is placed over the wart and it is removed after 24 hours. One may have to reapply the chemical, if one dose does not help.
Use of liquid nitrogen or cryotherapy helps in freezing the wart. This helps in removing the wart completely from the skin. However, one needs to apply liquid nitrogen 2 to 4 times for about 4 weeks.
Laser therapy helps in removing warts, but it can be a very expensive treatment.
Electric current is used to destroy the cells in the warts. This treatment is carried out under general anesthesia.
The different types of HPV warts on hands and feet are a common observation especially in children. This is because the immune system of children is not fully developed. One should visit a doctor and get the warts treated. HPV virus cannot be removed from the system, thus one may see recurrence of warts after treatment. A balanced diet, exercise and stress free life will help prevent appearance of warts.