It would be nice if removing unsightly warts were an instantaneous process. Unfortunately, it takes time to get rid of warts, and even more time to heal the remaining skin. Different methods of wart removal take different amounts of time, but there is still a basic process and a predictable set of stages. This article will explain the stages of wart removal, roughly how long it takes, and what to expect during the process. We will also discuss a few faster ways to remove warts for those who can’t afford to wait for a slower healing process.
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Stages To Remove Warts
Let’s face it; wart removal isn’t always pleasant. This isn’t just because you have to kill the virus in your skin. You also have to remove the skin that is infected and damaged by the wart and then wait for good skin to grow back in its place. This can be painful, and it also doesn’t look very nice. Sometimes we find ourselves counting the days until the painful sore is finally healed. So, it can help to know what the different stages of wart removal are so we can track our progress.
Here is a list of the basic process:
- Swelling: Whether you use cryotherapy, acids or pharmaceutical medicines, the first step of wart removal generally involves swelling. This is because the skin containing the virus is irritated by the applied treatment. The wart will occasionally swell up to twice its size or more depending on the type of treatment used. You may experience some pain during this stage from a mild stinging to a dull throbbing. If so, don’t worry, the pain will go away about the time the wart dies.
- Change in appearance: Your wart will start to turn black and look very dry. At this point, the skin that contains the virus is starting to die. You will notice that once the wart is completely black, your pain will be nearly gone with the exception of some mild irritation of the surrounding skin.
- Sloughing: The dead skin cells on the wart will start to slough off.
- Eventually healed: It’s important to keep using your treatment as directed until the wart has completely fallen off. If you stop treatment too early, you may experience regrowth and have to start over.
You may, or may not, end up with a scar once your wart treatment is complete. Some medicines are more likely to cause scarring on certain types of skin than others. Make sure you are choosing the right treatment for you type of wart and type of skin it involves.
From start to finish, this process should take a couple of weeks, with larger warts taking several weeks. Warts can be removed quite a bit faster with lasers. Read this article to learn how laser wart removal works.
Don’t try to pick out your wart once it begins to die no matter how tempted you are. This is because you may not get out all of the cells that contain the virus, and once you pull the top layer off, the skin underneath will be too sensitive to keep applying treatments. Instead, keep applying the treatment as your skin grows out and let the wart fall of naturally. You can use a gentle abrasive to smooth it down as it grows out, but don’t pick at it. This will allow your treatment time to kill all the cells that contain the virus.
Plantar Wart Removal Stages
The wart removal stages for a plantar wart, (and the precautions) are the same as for any other wart, with one exception. It takes much longer to eliminate a plantar wart because it is growing very deeply into very thick and tough skin. So, it may take as long as three months or even longer to go through all of the stages listed above. Some very stubborn and well-established plantar warts can take as much as 10 months to completely kill. The important thing to remember during this process is patience. Again, don’t pick at the wart. If you pull it out before it is completely dead, you setting yourself up for the necessity of repeat treatment.
If you truly can’t wait the months that it takes to remove the wart, or you are not seeing results after several months, you might want to consider a surgical alternative. Read here to learn more about wart removal surgery.
Methods To Treat Early Warts
If you are lucky enough to catch your warts early, you can nip their full growth in the bud, saving yourself a great deal of pain and bother. The treatment methods for early warts are exactly the same as they would be for more developed warts, with the exception that gentle treatments are more likely to work fast.
The key to treating early warts is to identify them as soon as they show signs of starting. When a wart is first forming, it can be flat or bumpy. As it begins to pull extra blood supply to increase its growth, you will likely notice dark spots in the middle of the wart. Starting treatment immediately will greatly increase your chances of success. If you have not had a wart before and are not sure if this is your specific skin condition, see a dermatologist and inquire about the most recommended method of treatment.
If you see any signs of infection at your treatment area see the doctor immediately. Signs of infection can include yellow or green pus exuding from the surrounding skin or red streaks leading out from the treatment area. Sometimes the only sign of infection is a sudden significant increase in pain that is not expected from the treatment itself. Ignoring symptoms of an additional infection in the skin surrounding your wart could result in severe tissue damage, so don’t wait more than 24 hours for an appointment with a doctor.
Wart Removal Process For Those Who Don’t Have Time
While gentle methods are generally cheaper and less painful, sometimes we just don’t have weeks to months to wait for a wart to heal.
In this case, there are other, faster types of wart removal procedures:
- Cut it out: The fastest way to get rid of a wart is to have a surgeon cut it out. You can read here to learn more about the surgical process of cutting off a wart.
- Freeze it off: The next fastest way after this is cryosurgery, where the wart is frozen off in one or two stages. Sometimes this takes a few additional treatments if the wart is very deep or very large, but for most, freezing is a nearly instant wart cure as long as it kills the wart all the way to the base. Read more here.
- Electrical cauterization: Another rapid wart removal procedure is to burn it off with electricity. This may take a few more treatments than freezing or cutting it off, but it generally works much faster than typical treatments that you apply at home. Further details can be found here.
We can all agree that it is very relieving once a wart is finally removed, and now that you know the stages of wart removal, you can rest assured that your treatment is progressing normally and look forward to that day when you finally have smooth, unblemished skin again.