Normally, your skin is clear and smooth. But then one day, you discover a growth. It’s hard sometimes, to know exactly what you’re dealing with, and if it turns out to be a wart, it can be shocking. Warts aren’t fun, after all. They can be irritating, in the way, and just plain ugly. And when it comes to wart types, there are many. Plantar, common, genital… there’s a whole list. One such type of wart you may find yourself faced with are filiform warts.
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What Are Filiform Warts?
A filiform wart is different than other types. They are normally found on the face and typically presents as long, fingerlike projections coming out from the skin. Finding them around eyelids, nostrils, and your mouth is common. They can range in size from very small to larger than an eraser head.
Besides its unique shape, something else specific to a filiform wart is its color. These growths are almost always flesh colored, which can be different than common or genital warts, which sometimes appear pink or brownish. When a filiform wart is small, it can be hard to notice since it will blend in to the surrounding skin so well.
When a wart creeps up into your eye area, it’s not a good thing. The eyes are a very sensitive area that can be easily damaged, so if one of your filiform warts is spreading there, you should consider seeing a doctor for treatment. To read more about eye warts, go here.
HPV Is The Cause
A virus is the culprit behind all warts on the human body. Human Papilloma Virus, or HPV, comes in many different strains, which determine what type of wart you’ll get. Filiform warts come from strains 1, 2, 4, 27, and 29.
HPV gets into your body through tiny breaks in your skin. Once inside, it settles into your body’s uppermost layers of skin, called your epithelial cells, where it waits until reactivating. It creates a wart by making extra layers of skin repeatedly, building it up so fast that it begins to stick up from the skin as a wart.
Some traits about HPV to remember:
- It thrives in warm, moist environments. Especially ones shared by multiple people like pool decks, locker rooms, and showers.
- There is no cure. Sometimes your body can fight the HPV off and kill it naturally, but in general, the virus will stick around. Don’t despair, though – just because HPV is in your body, it doesn’t mean you’ll have warts all the time. And when they do creep up every so often, there’s ways to kill them.
- Genital warts are different from all the other types. These warts are the most contagious and are easily spread between genitals simply through touch. You cannot get them anywhere else on your body, with the only exception being in your mouth and throat transmitted through oral sex.
Just because you get HPV, it doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to get every kind of wart from now on. When HPV gets into your body it’s only going to be one specific strain. For example, once you have a filiform wart, it doesn’t mean that the HPV in your body can then also produce a plantar wart on your foot. You’d have to have a separate infection of the HPV strain specific to plantar warts in order to get them.
Treatment Options For Filiform Warts
Just because there’s not a cure for HPV, it doesn’t mean that you have to live with a filiform wart. In general, warts usually go away on their own with time, whether it be months or years. But if you want to kill them faster, there’s a bunch of treatments to choose from.
There might be several things that influence your decision, including:
- Healing time,
- How complicated the procedure/treatment is,
- The number and size of your filiform warts.
Over the counter
Gone are the days when you absolutely had to go to the doctor for a wart. Now, you can go only as far as the drugstore for relief.
- Salicylic acid: The most common of all wart-fighters, salicylic acid is derived from the bark of the willow tree. It works by eating away at living tissue, like you find in a wart, one layer at a time. When it comes to filiform warts, however, they might be more tricky to treat, seeing as they’re mostly found on your face. Never use salicylic acid on warts near your eyes, and be very careful on ones near other sensitive areas like your nose or mouth. Results are usually seen within 2-3 weeks. Further details can be found here.
- Freezing kits: At-home freezing kits are good options for a filiform wart. These kits come with a freezing agent in a canister, usually a gas propellant of some kind, that sprays out liquid in an extremely low temperature. So low, in fact, that it destroys living tissue. One thing that makes at-home freezing kits convenient is their efficiency – most warts need only 1-2 applications to kill them. After applying the freezing agent to the filiform wart, it may take a week or two for the wart to fall off. For more information click here.
- Creams: There are some natural methods out there to help kill warts in the form of creams or gels. Ingredients include extracts from all different kinds of agents, and work similar to salicylic acid, taking off the wart, layer by layer. Other natural agents work on the immune system, trying to get your own body to fight the HPV causing the wart. Read more here.
You shouldn’t try to remove filiform warts without first researching which method you want to go with and the best way to complete the treatment. Go here for more details on how to remove warts on your face.
Sometimes, getting rid of your wart on your own at home just isn’t going to cut it. Maybe you’ve tried and it isn’t working, or maybe you just want to skip the home products altogether and go straight to a professional. Whatever the reason, take comfort knowing that there are many different safe medical procedures out there available for your filiform wart.
Surgical excision: This might be the most extreme of all medical options available, but it’s also the most instantaneous – your wart will be gone immediately. Using a sharp cutting instrument of some kind, a medical professional will cut the filiform wart out of your skin, being very careful to take out every wart cell so that none will grow back again. Something about filiform warts that’s a plus is that they aren’t usually very deep in the skin, meaning that it’s unlikely you’ll have to deal with obvious scarring after getting them cut out. Healing time varies, depending on the location and size of your wart, but usually is a couple weeks. Read more here.Warning
Don’t try and do surgical excision yourself at home. Cutting off the top of your filiform wart won’t get rid of it for good, as it will grow back. The only way to really make a wart go away is to kill it down to its base under the skin, which is why cutting it at the surface won’t do it. Using a knife, scissors, or fingernail clippers to cut into your skin will cause pain and bleeding, and may result in infection and excess scarring. If you’re looking to have your filiform wart cut out of you, always go to a medical professional. For more information click here.
- Cryotherapy: Thisusesthe same process as the at-home freezing kits, in a more sophisticated form. A doctor will use liquid nitrogen to freeze your filiform wart. Nitrogen is a gas that, when at an extremely low temperature, turns into a liquid. It’s boiling point is -320.4 degrees F., meaning that it will boil off the second it touches pretty much anything.
Your doctor will spray liquid nitrogen onto your wart in continuous stream, letting it damage the tissue deeper and deeper until the entire wart is destroyed beyond repair. A light covering will then be put over the site to protect it. After a week or so, the wart should die and slough off. Sometimes, the wart may need more than one application. Please see detailed descriptions here.
- Electrocautery: Using an electric current through a special wand tool, your doctor touches the tip of it straight to the wart tissue, burning it off. There may be a burning smell and a small amount of smoke, but this is nothing to be concerned about. One benefit of doing electrocautery is that there isn’t any blood involved like there is with surgical excision. Healing involves waiting for your body to slough off the dead wart tissue, which usually takes 1-2 weeks. Please see detailed descriptions here.
Having warts on your face is unquestionably annoying. When you’ve got a wart on your nose, it’s not only unpleasant to look at – it can start to creep up into your nostrils as well, which is never a good thing. To find out more information about warts on your nose, go here.
Top 4 Products To Try
When you’re considering an over the counter product, research your options and go through the pros and cons of each.
Some products that have been shown to produce great results include:
- Compound W Wart Remover Maximum Strength Fast Acting Gel: The beauty of this gel is how thick it is, letting you have more control over application than a regular liquid. Read more here.
- Wart Stick Solid-Stick Wart Remover Maximum Strength: Having medication in the form of a stick is very beneficial. Not only does it make putting it on extremely easy, it won’t spread around at all, which is important when you’re dealing with a sensitive area like the face. Read more here.
- Dr Scholls Freeze Away Wart Remover: This freezing kit injects the cold liquid into a cotton swab which you’ll then press against your filiform wart. Results are often seen in one application. Read more here.
- Trichloroacetic Acid (TCA): This product is a cream that’s only available through a prescription. It is a very corrosive acid that destroys wart tissue. This will most likely not be prescribed for filiform warts on the face unless they are very stubborn, and aren’t near your eyes or mouth. To find out more details on TCA for warts, go here.
Filiform warts can be especially agitating, considering they’re on your face. You see them when you look in the mirror, you feel them whenever you reach up to touch your face during the day… this type of wart is one that people usually want to treat as soon as possible. If you’ve got a filiform wart, educate yourself and look at all your options, then pick a removal method that’s best for you, and get started back on the path to permanently clear skin.