Nobody likes a wart. Not only are they ugly, most people associate them with being dirty. But unfortunately, most of us will experience one at least once in our lives. And their location can be pretty much anywhere – your feet, hands, toes, face, even your genitals and mouth. It’s not a condition specific to any age group, either. The human body is susceptible to warts at absolutely any age. One area that people often don’t associate with warts is the scalp. After all, it’s covered in hair, so warts don’t grow there, right? In reality, even though there’s an abundance of hair, your scalp is still skin, which means it can get a wart just like anywhere else.
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What Are They, Exactly?
All warts are caused by the same thing. Some people might think they’re from fungus or bacteria, when they’re actually caused by Human Papilloma Virus, or HPV. It’s a DNA based virus that thrives in moist, warm places and is impossible to see. All it takes is one tiny break in your skin – sometimes so small you can’t see it – to become infected. It will then make itself comfortable inside your skin’s epithelial layers, waiting to activate, eventually replicating over and over again until causing your skin to build up into a wart.
One way warts can spread is by autoinoculation. This is usually caused by shaving. When you drag the razor across your skin, it cuts the wart, dragging viral particles with it and into new areas of the body. In the case of scalp warts, shaving parts of your head or even scratching the wart raw can drag the viral particles to other areas.
Although it’s not as common, you can find warts on your abdomen. This might be annoying as clothing rubs against it. For more details about warts on stomach, go here.
But how do you know what you’re dealing with is a wart on your scalp or something else?
If you feel a bump on your head, look for the following characteristic of a wart:
- Color: Warts can vary in color from skin colored to red, pink, or brown. In general, warts will be colored while a pimple is red with pink or red radiating down its sides.
- Surface: This will depend on the wart. Common warts are more rounded and smooth, while filiform warts stick up more and have many fingerlike projections coming up from it.
- Pain: Warts should be painless. If they are cut or scratched, there could be pain associated with it from the torn skin, but in general, warts shouldn’t hurt. Pimples and cysts are usually tender to the touch and even somewhat painful while untouched.
Sometimes, you may confuse a wart with something else like a pimple or cyst. It’s possible for pores to get clogged on the scalp and cause pimples, which will produce a small lump. If you’re wondering if what you’re dealing with is a wart or a mole, know that moles are usually always brown and can be flush against the skin. They also grow more slowly than a wart, which can pop up fast.
Surrounded by hair
Something that comes with warts on your scalp is the fact that there will be hair surrounding it. It’s inevitable, after all, considering the location of the wart. Something that may be a complication in regards to this is brushing your hair. Every time your hairbrush scrapes across the wart, it can cause discomfort or even pain, and can possibly rupture the wart itself. Pulling on your hair will pull on the skin surrounding the wart which can be annoying.
There are also times when a hair can grow out of the wart itself. This happens if the wart is sitting on top of a hair follicle. Sometimes, the hair makes its way through the wart and out. This is harmless and not something that needs medical attention.
Sometimes you can find warts that aren’t just on your scalp or face, but on your neck. If you’ve got skin folds on your neck, a wart can possibly even grow inside one. Find more details about warts on neck here.
When Warts Are On The Back Of Your Head
It’s easy to notice when there’s a wart on your scalp when you can see it in the mirror. But when they’re on the back of your head, it’s much more difficult. Add a head full of hair to that, and it can be almost impossible to see.
To get a good look at your wart, you may need someone to help you. Also, you could use a mirror.
Follow these steps:
- Use a handheld mirror of some type and hold it up in front of you.
- Stand in front of a larger mirror, facing away from it.
- Using the handheld mirror, angle it until you can see the reflection of the back of your head in it.
- Use your other hand to part your hair so that you can get a good look at the wart.
One spot where a wart can be odd is the ear. If the wart gets big or starts to grow into the opening of the ear, it can even cause a problem. Click here for more information about warts on ear.
Getting Warts On Scalp Removed
The good news is that warts on your scalp can be removed.
And although you might not be able to use every kind of method, there are still several options:
Cryotherapy: This method uses liquid nitrogen to freeze the wart off, a substance with an extremely low boiling point. The liquid is held in a special canister that keeps it at a very low temperature. Your doctor will spray it onto the wart continually, exposing the wart to the extreme temperature which kills the tissue. The wart may turn black, and there may be a blister that forms over the site. There may be some pain involved on your scalp where the wart is. To learn more about liquid nitrogen cryotherapy, see this page.Warning
Don’t pick or scratch if a blister forms after treatment. The blister will be filled with fluid and particles of HPV, and if you break it, the virus can spread to other parts of your body. Avoid brushing this area of your scalp until the blister has gone down.
- Surgical Excision: This procedure is the most extreme, using a knife or other cutting tool to cut the wart directly out of the skin. There will be some blood involved, although you won’t see it, considering the wart’s location. Your doctor will need to numb the area before they start so you don’t feel pain. The main advantage of this method is that your wart will be gone immediately. Read more here.
Electrosurgery: Using a special wand tool, your doctor will aim it directly onto your wart. The tool emits a current of electricity straight out of its tip. This heats the warts cells up to a high temperature that the wart can’t survive. There may be smoke emitted as the process is taking place, and a burning smell. This is normal for the procedure. An advantage of this is that there’s no blood involved and less pain than cryotherapy or surgical excision. Further details can be found here.
- Home remedies: Natural ways exist that can be used as wart therapy. Things like tea tree oil, apple cider vinegar, aloe vera, and garlic are used by many people to get rid of their warts. An upside to this method is the low cost and easy availability. A downside is that its effectiveness isn’t proven and it takes longer than medical intervention. For more information click here.
- Topical medication: Salicylic acid is a standard way to treat warts. It’s not usually used on the scalp, but can be tried. But be careful, as salicylic acid can ruin the hair surrounding the wart. Read more here.
One thing that might happen with wart removal on your scalp has to do with your hair. In order to clearly get to the wart, your doctor might have to shave off the hair in a very small section. This is not always the case, as your physician may be able to reach the wart without having to shave anything.
When you feel a bump on your head, do what you can to get a look at it, and if you’re worried, consult a doctor for advice. Although most warts will go away over time, you may choose to get yours removed in some way. And no matter what, you don’t have to live with warts forever!