Flat Warts Treatment

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There are many different minute skin growths which are a consequence of an infection that, while generally harmless, can be a source of discomfort, embarrassment, or self-consciousness. The best weapon against these sometimes unavoidable conditions is knowing what it is that you are facing and how best to deal with it. This article should arm you with what you need to know about flat warts, a relatively common skin affliction that tends to affect younger people.

What is a flat wart?

Warts come in many different shapes and sizes, and tend to be named either by their appearance or where they prefer to strike. Flat warts fit into the former camp, and are exactly that, warts with a flat appearance compared to other warts which tend to be more raised. Flat warts also tend to be quite small, but while other warts can crop up in ones and twos, flat warts tend to come in large clusters of as many as 100. They tend to be about the same colour as your skin, and will be much smoother to the touch, unlike most other warts which tend to be very rough. Flat warts tend to affect the face, but have been known to target the neck and arms as well.

Flat warts can take their time in growing to a noticeable size, with some infections lasting as long as a year before becoming noticeable. They will often centre around a break in your skin like a scratch, which is why if you are someone who shaves particularly regularly, you might find yourself subject to an infection at some point. These warts tend not to be painful unless placed under pressure or regular contact, and most importantly are very rarely, if ever, a health risk.

What causes flat warts?

Warts are the consequence of an infection by a type of infectious organism called a virus. The type of virus responsible for flat warts is a particular subtype of the human papilloma virus (HPV), which is fairly prevalent in nature and is known to exist in at least 130 different subtypes. Viruses are extremely simple things, and are often little more than a bit of genetic material encased within a protein shell, moving from cell to cell when they can to cause trouble. An HPV infection will tend to occur through a small break in the skin, and the virus will use your cells as a means by which to grow and duplicate, spreading into nearby cells which grow at an exaggerated rate. It is this rapid growth which results in the formation of the small growths we know as warts. So take comfort in the fact that warts are just little collections of overly excited skin cells.

How do you get flat warts?

As mentioned above, you get flat warts through an infection by HPV, but how do you get into contact with the virus? HPV is, unfortunately, a very contagious virus that is very fond of going from person to person, which is the main mode of infection. As viruses they like skin and mucous because warm and moist surfaces are the best for viral growth, and so can easily be transferred by skin to skin contact. HPV can also be caught through contact with surfaces that bear the virus.

Flat warts are also known as juvenile warts because they tend to affect children and younger teenagers. This is because adults tend to develop a resistance against the strains of HPV that cause flat warts, and are hence unlikely to develop flat warts. Your body has a remarkable defence network called the immune system which learns to effectively recognise returning viruses and how to deal with them.

Can I treat flat warts?

Like all other warts, the flat variety can be very effectively treated by a number of different methods. If you aren’t particularly bothered by the condition, then chances are your warts will disappear on their own over time as your body’s natural immune system reacts to them. If,  however, you are feeling self-conscious about your warts or are unhappy with their appearance, then don’t worry, there are many options available for getting rid of them and restoring your skin to its pristine and natural self.

Because they occur in larger groups treating flat warts is a bit trickier than other warts, over the counter creams and drugs are available that work by saturating your skin with water. What this does is cause the skin to peel away basically, taking the virus with it and leaving your skin in good health. Similarly moist patches can be used to the same effect, and these are placed on top of an infected are for a couple of days at a time. These treatments can take a while to work, but if you are concerned then it’s always worth being safe and seeing your doctor. Some chemical agents can be recommended by your doctor, mainly retinoin and salicylic acid, which can remove warts. In some cases your doctor might recommend freezing the warts by cryotherapy or burning them off by either electrosurgery or laser treatments. While these may sound a bit excessive, the actual procedures are very small scale and expertly performed to be quick and efficient.

How can I prevent flat warts?

There is no sure fire way to avoid flat warts, but there are definitely steps you can take to reduce your chances of infection. Firstly avoid direct skin contact with anyone already infected with flat warts, the highly contagious nature of the virus means that you are very likely to contract it as well. Secondly the virus commonly gets in through tiny scratches caused by shaving for instance, so maintaining good hygiene at all times, but particularly whilst shaving is an a great preventative measure.

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