Flat warts are small outgrowths that have flat tops that are similar the size of a pinhead. These can be found in skin colour, yellow, pink or light brown. Since they are more prominently found in children or teenagers, they are also called juvenile warts. They commonly develop on face, forehead and sometimes on the neck, arms, and hands.
Flat warts are caused by human papillomavirus that has more than 100 strains. The main cause of flat warts is HPV strains 3, 10, 28 and 49. Viruses generally grow in warm and moist areas so human skin which as mucosal surface is ideal for their growth. Once the HPV finds the right place for its survival it begins to grow and divide rapidly. HPV is a contagious virus that spreads easily either by direct or indirect contact.
HPV remains dormant for a long duration inside the host. Once the infection occurs it might take up to a year for the warts to become visible. These are tiny outgrowths that are flesh in color, have flat tops and smooth texture. They generally invade the skin from cuts and abrasions which means that you will find them appearing near the scratches. Though they may grow prominently on the face and around the neck area, they can grow on hands as well. Generally the areas that are shaved very frequently like the men’s face and women’s legs are more prone to HPV infection. Flat warts develop in clusters, usually painless and can be very unattractive.
There is no permanent cure to a flat wart and they have the possibility of re-occurrence after a few months of treatment. Most topical drugs are applied over the affected area so that it gets saturated and the cells are depleted resulting in the peeling of the affected area. Moist patches are also used to treat these flat warts. The moist patch is placed over the affected area for around 48 hours so that the flat warts will eventually get peeled off. The effectiveness depends on the depth and the size of the warts.
Generally the remedies start working after 3 months of regular treatment but if there are no signs of improvement and the flat warts become painful then, you should remove the warts by salicylic acid and cantharidin. All you have to do is to wash the affected area ideally with a disinfectant, then soak it for 15-20 minutes then let the wart dry. Remove the dead skin with a pumice stone or towel. Follow this with topical application of salicylic acid commonly available at drug stores. Repeat the process twice a day regularly for weeks till the lesion is wisely controlled.
Flat warts can also be removed by the following treatments:
Surgery is the third-line treatment and done at the last stages of wart removal and expensive. It can also leave the scars behind. However, laser treatment is much more effective as it doesn’t leave scars but it is very expensive and requires multiple sessions.
Cryofreeze is another method to treat flat warts on feet or hands. Freeze the warts with liquid nitrogen that bursts the affected cells and hence disrupt their growth. Though warts are harmless, they are painful and irritating hence proper measures must be taken to cure them.
Though flat warts can develop in people of all ages and both sexes, they are more prominent in children and teenagers. People from 12-16 of age are common victims of flat warts. About 20% of school kids suffer from this while white people are more prone to flat warts. People with weakened immune response also are more prone develop HPV infection.
Warts can be highly bothersome and need to be treated with possibly quick results but since there cure depends only on the immune response, it takes a while for the treatment to take effect. Treatment can be painful at times.
Home remedies in treating the warts:
- Wash the affected area with a disinfectant and soak it for some time. Apply some petroleum jelly on the surrounding skin to prevent it from irritation. Gently rub the wart area to remove dead skin.
- Place a fresh sliced potato on the wart and apply an adhesive bandage overnight. Repeat the process for a week or till the wart falls off.
- Apply a paste of baking soda and water on the wart three times a day. Within a few days it will dry up.
- Aloe gel that is soaked in cotton ball can be applied on the affected area which will result in the drying up of the face wart.
Milk sap from the stem of a dandelion can be rubbed on the affected area. This is a very effective method.