Warts and Moles

Definitions:

Warts (also called Verruca): Can be viral or non-viral in origin and cancerous or non cancerous growths proliferations of skin cells. The most common virus responsible for warts is the Human Papilloma Virus. A Mother Wart is a single wart when, over time, appears to put forth seeds so that new warts grow up around it.

Moles or Nevi: These can be proliferations of tissue inside as well as outside the body. Predisposed areas inside the body surround the ovaries and uterus. Moles usually appear after birth and are not flat like birthmarks. Did you know that you can even have your moles read (like in a face reading only they read your moles?) This is part of the Chinese Art of “Mian Xiang” (check it out at http://www.flickr.com/photos/hey-gem/75173087 .)

Tag Warts or Cutaneous Papillomas or Skin Tags: Are proliferation of skin that cause an appendage, flap or polyp on the skin. These are usually flesh colored or brown.

Red Spots and Marks: Strawberry Birthmarks, Red birthmarks, Stork bites, Angioma Cavernosum, Capillary Hemangioma, Hemangioma Simplex, Strawberry Mark: Colored vascular skin markings which develop at or shortly after birth. They are usually painless and harmless with unknown cause most commonly on the face, scalp, back, and chest. 95% of these disappear by the time a child is 9 years of age.

Angioma Cavernosum or capillary hemangiomas are red blue and spongy and also go away without treatment.

Port Wine Stains and Hemangiomas are flat and usually appear on the face. They are not harmful, but emotionally annoying as people point at you all the time.

Salmon Patches or Stork Bites are extremely common in newborns. These are pink or red, flat and common on the head. Generally they fade as the infant grows. Those on the back of the neck may never fade, but the hair usually covers them up.

Pigmented Birthmarks, Birthmarks also called Cafe-Au-Lait Spots, Congenital Nevus, Hairy Nevus, Mole, Nevi, Nevus Sebaceous : Are skin that is pigmented with an extra dose of melanin (the hormone that causes you to tan). The color ranges from brown to black, bluish to grey.

Red Moles or Small Cherry Angiomas: Small cherry angiomas that are seen in virtually every individual over 25 years of age. Occasionally they occur sooner. They are not associated with any significant abnormality to my knowledge. They tend to increase with age, and the extent in number probably is genetically determined.

Spider Mole Nevi (Spider angioma or Nevus Araneus) : Red skin lesion in the shape of a spider common in pregnancy and in liver disease most common on the face and trunk these can be about ½ inch in diameter.

Mongolian spots or Mongolian Blue Spots are a non-harmful, non-cancerous type of birthmark that appears on dark skinned people. These look like a bruise and don’t usually go away. They are usually located on the low back, buttocks, trunk and arms.

Causes & Prevention:

Warts are an infection of the skin that become those unsightly bumps on various parts of your body or the soles of your feet, and are caused by specific wart viruses. They come and go, sometimes with or without treatment, and sometimes won’t go away no matter what treatment is given. Some individuals are more susceptible than others to having warts. As any virus, warts are contagious, but not in the normal sense of being contagious as in catching someone else’s cold. The other person needs to be susceptible to the virus. Only genital warts and those around the anus are contagious in the normal sense, and care must be taken not to spread them to others.

Plantar warts, those on the soles of your feet, are also contagious and are frequently picked up in moist areas, such as bathrooms, locker rooms and around swimming pools. Keeping your feet dry after being in one of these areas is the best method of prevention.

General Information about Warts: A wart is a non-cancerous skin growth caused by a viral infection in the skin. There are several types of warts: common warts can grow anywhere, but are hard to treat when on fingers or around nails; plantar warts usually grow on the soles of the feet; and flat warts are smaller and smoother than other warts and tend to grow in large numbers at any one time.

In general, warts are pale, skin-colored growths with a rough surface, even borders, and blackened surface capillaries. Normal skin lines do not cross a wart’s surface. And contrary to popular opinion, warts are very shallow growths—they don’t have “roots” or “runners” that go down to the bone.

Moles are spots on the skin, collections of pigment cells, and can appear brown, blue, black, or flesh colored. Some moles have a high risk of becoming cancerous and exposure to the sun can trigger malignant melanoma in moles or previously normal skin.

Forty to fifty percent of all warts eventually disappear on their own, typically within two years. Children in particular often lose warts spontaneously.

Check with your physician if you notice a change in any mole.

There are five types of warts:

  1. The Common wart has an elevated, rough, dry surface, and may occur anywhere on the body;
  2. Flat warts are usually flat, multiple lesions that can occur anywhere: faces, arms, backs of hands and legs are the most common areas. This type is especially common in women who shave their legs and also in bare areas of men;
  3. Plantar warts are found on the soles of the feet;
  4. Genital warts are found around the genital areas of men and women and around the anus. They can be large and fleshy or look like regular warts;
  5. Warts can also be found on the lips and in the mouth. These appear as small, moist, whitish bumps. This type is not common.

Are you sure it’s a wart? Normally, you’d think it would be pretty easy to identify a wart, but it’s amazing how many people end up treating skin cancers or other growths as warts. So if you have the slightest doubt about what you’re dealing with, see a doctor.

Should you treat your wart? That really is left to personal preference. Plantar warts are painful, so treatment for these is usually necessary. Genital warts or those around the anus also need to be treated by a physician so they don’t spread. Don’t try to treat this type yourself. Other warts may go away on their own, or you may want to treat them. Vanity and personal comfort, as in having warts in areas that need shaving or where clothes rub them, may be the determining factor. If you do decide to treat them, start with the simplest method and if that hasn’t worked in three weeks progress to more aggressive methods.

You must treat all the warts in a given area so they don’t continue to spread. If they are in an area you shave, stop shaving if you scrape them or use a hair removal cream, as the scraping will spread the wart virus. For plantar warts, start with the tape or tape and castor oil methods, then, if they aren’t effective, progress to a more aggressive method. Use a pumice stone or some other type of scraper to get off the dead skin before applying more medicine. Plantar warts are difficult to get rid of and may take three to six weeks before any progress is noted.

Symptoms: Generally raised, darkened areas on the body.

Cause: Warts and moles are usually the result of a nutritional deficiency (often potassium) and they should be treated internally, as well as externally.

Home Remedies for Warts and Moles:

  • Aloe Vera for Warts: It has been used …to help remove warts, the juice of the fresh leaf being applied daily over a period of weeks until the wart is reduced or removed. [UW-Aloe Vera]
  • Aloe Soak a small piece of cotton in aloe gel and tape over the wart. Add more gel every three hours with an eye dropper. Change cotton daily. The wart should begin to dry up in a few days and in a few weeks may disappear.
  • Apple cider vinegar (ACV) Soak your wart in warm water for twenty minutes; dry thoroughly; apply full strength apple cider vinegar with a cotton ball and leave on for ten minutes; wash off with tepid water; dry. Another way to use ACV is to keep a plastic container with a lid in the bathroom with enough ACV to cover your foot. After each shower (or daily, if you can), dip your foot with the plantar wart in the container. Place a towel on the floor to dry your foot off after the vinegar bath. Don’t rinse the vinegar off. Our reader said the pain from the wart disappeared after one bath, and, over a period of several weeks the warts got smaller, turned dark, and disappeared. As a side benefit she said the skin on her feet turned pink and smooth, like a baby’s. She had tried everything over a period of 15 years, including surgery, nitrogen, creams and ultrasound, but no luck. For her this remedy worked wonders. Courtesy Rebecca Leighton Katers.
  • Ashes Apply wood ashes to the wart.
  • Aspirin Dissolve a regular aspirin with a small drop of water and apply to the wart; cover with a Band-Aid?; repeat twice daily. If this method irritates the skin around the wart, apply some Vaseline around the area with a Q-tip?.
  • Baking soda Rub the wart three times daily with a solution of baking soda and water.
  • Banana Take a ripe banana peel and cut a piece and apply the pulp side to the affected area and tape securely. Leave the peel on except when bathing, changing daily. This remedy may take several months, but has been effective in getting rid of stubborn plantar warts. Other sources suggest using an unripe banana, as certain healing compounds are more concentrated in the peels before they ripen.
  • Black Ointment: Dr. Christopher’s Black Ointment:  an excellent drawing ointment for warts: Historically used externally on old ulcers, tumors, boils, warts, skin cancers, hemorrhoids, excellent for burns and as a healing agent. This is made with chaparral, comfrey, red clover blossoms, pine tar, mullein, beeswax, plantain, olive oil, mutton tallow, chickweed, poke root.
  • Black walnut tincture have been used with such success that a number of people swear by them.
  • Cashew Oil: The cashew oil, which must be used with great caution, is used as an application to warts, corns, ringworms, cancerous ulcers.
  • Cashews Rub a cashew on the wart several times a day. Another remedy is to chew the cashew and take a small amount of the mixture and place it on the wart. One reader stated that he had used this remedy to get rid of a wart he had had for 25 years. It took 2-3 weeks for the wart to disappear.
  • Castor Oil and Bandage: Another castor oil remedy is to apply a half drop of oil to the wart twice daily and cover the wart with some form of first aid tape or bandage. Keep the bandage on 24 hours a day for three weeks, removing only to put on a new one.
  • Castor Oil Toothpick: Another variation is to touch the wart with a toothpick soaked in castor oil. (See vitamin A remedy below.)
  • Castor oil Apply castor oil to the wart and rub twenty times or so with your finger. Do this at night and in the morning. The wart should disappear in three to four weeks.
  • Castor Oil: Applying castor oil or garlic oil to the area several times a day and taping a piece of gauze soaked with this oil over the wart during the night will aid in clearing the condition.
  • Chalk Rub the wart daily with a piece of white chalk.
  • Cut the wart: Some scientific researchers believe that by cutting the wart it creates antibodies to itself and attacks itself. I haven’t found this to be too successful. I’ve gone over a wart on my knee with my razor time and time again and it’s still there. I think I’ll try duct tape next!
  • Dandelion milk or milkweed milk: General Information for Warts and Moles: The warts, moles and skin blemishes are helped externally and are often cleared up by using the white milk from dandelions and/or from milkweed.
  • Dandelion Break open the stem of a dandelion and rub the milky sap on the warts in a circular motion. Do this two or three times a day until the wart disappears. This was the favorite remedy of Will Greer, Grandpa Walton on the TV show “The Waltons.”
  • Dermatend: An herbal mole remover you can purchase on the internet that is talked about by Dr. Andrew Weil. Here’s the Link: http://www.skin-cancer-mole-picture.com/
  • Duct Tape: A recent study (2002) done at the Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, WA found that placing a piece of duct tape the exact size of the wart over it was successful in removing the wart 85% of the time and was better than the standard method of freezing the wart (60% successful). CBS ran a TV show on this technique. Here’s how it works: Place the tape on the wart for six days, then remove it; soak the wart in water; gently scrape the wart with an emery board or pumice stone; leave the tape off for a night; repeat for up to a month. Here is an article to read on this duct tape technique: http://www.aafp.org/afp/20030201/tips/8.html
  • Garlic for Warts and Moles: Here is a very successful routine for removal of these unwanted growths called moles, or warts. Take a button of garlic, slice or cut in two, and placed the cup area over a wart of mole. Tape it on, and as it dries out put a fresh piece. Many users have reported good results.
  • Garlic Dice some garlic and rub on the wart.
  • Garlic, Fresh Juice of: The use of a clove of garlic cut in half (or mashed or grated) and kept over the wart all night until it is gone has aided many.
  • Glue Apply Elmer’s glue to the affected area. Leave on as long as it stays; scrape off and reapply.
  • Grapefruit seed extract (GSE by Nutribiotic) This extract is a powerful all-around antimicrobial product and is an excellent disinfectant. Apply a drop directly to the wart and cover with a Band-Aid; repeat twice daily. The wart will turn white and fall off in about a week.
  • Herbal Tinctures: The combination tinctures consists of blue vervain, black cohosh, blue cohosh, skullcap and lobelia herbs in equal parts, using 90 proof or stronger alcohol as a base.
  • Homeopathic—Antimonium crudum and Berberis: Given about 6 p.m. each remedy on alternate days.
  • Homeopathic—Causticum and Nitric acid: Given upon waking, each remedy on alternate days.
  • Homeopathic—Thuja: Usually given upon waking.
  • Homeopathic—Wart Formula by Professional Complementary Health Formulations containing Lacticum acidum, Scrophularia nodosa, Thuja occidentalis, Causticum, Dulcamar, Calcarea carbonica, Naturum suphuricum, Naja tripudians.
  • Hydrogen peroxide Dab 35% (food grade) hydrogen peroxide on the warts with a cotton ball or Q-tip. Hydrogen peroxide can burn your skin, so be very careful when applying it.
  • Iodine Apply iodine daily.
  • Lemon juice Apply lemon juice to the wart and rub in gently. Repeat two or three times daily.
  • Liver, desiccated Take three tablets three times daily. This supplement is rich in B-vitamins and sulfur.
  • Milkweed Apply milkweed juice to the wart.
  • Mucousless Diet: More General Information for Warts and Moles: Use the mucusless diet and add plenty of raw carrots, kelp, dulse, or sea weed and onions to the diet.
  • Onion Cut an onion in half, scoop out the middle and put in about 1/2 teaspoon of salt. After several hours the salt will draw the onion’s juices which can be applied to the wart several times a day.
  • Onions for Warts: Warts have been said to disappear when treated perseveringly with raw onion dipped in salt.
  • Oregano, oil Place one drop of oil of oregano on the wart nightly. The wart should disappear in a few days.
  • Papaya Lightly apply the milky latex juice from a green papaya to the wart; repeat several times a day. Within a week or less the wart should be gone.
  • Pineapple Rub a slice of fresh pineapple on the wart. Keep applying frequently, as needed.
  • Potassium Deficiency for Warts and Moles: When cysts or tumors grow in places where they can be seen outside the body, often we react by having them cut out. This defeats healing by working on the effect instead of the cause. You can cut cysts out, tumors off, and burn warts off (which are also a potassium deficiency), or get rid of as many moles as you wish, but unless you go to the cause, they will grow back again, and you may end up with as many or more cysts, tumors, moles as before. Different signs of potassium deficiency will keep popping out on the body because the condition that needs correcting is on the inside. You have to go into the cause, Dr. Christopher always insisted, which is the way we have been eating. Potassium sources: There are several ways to receive your potassium. Dr. Bernard Jensen sells a potassium broth made from dehydrated vegetables. Dr. Bronner makes a similar, excellent product. You can also make your own potassium broth by simmering equal parts of red potatoes, celery, carrots, onions, and herbs to taste. Raw vegetable and fruit juices also flood the system with potassium.
  • Potato Rub the wart with raw potato peelings.
  • Radishes Rub the wart daily with a radish.
  • Salicylic acid plaster This remedy is good for warts on the soles of your feet or the palms of your hands. This product destroys wart tissue, and, as the remedy mentioned above, must be used carefully.
  • Salicylic acid (15%) Salicylic acid is a more aggressive treatment method and should be used with care as products containing salicylic acid can burn your skin. Products with this ingredient work by destroying wart tissue. Check with your doctor or pharmacist for suggested products, and be sure to read the label and follow the directions carefully. To use these products, apply them only to the wart, not on the surrounding skin; allow to dry thoroughly. Do this twice daily and soak and rub the dead wart tissue away before reapplying. If you get pain or irritation, stop for a few days, then start again. For small flat warts, apply the salicylic acid with a toothpick or other small applicator, and follow the above directions. The British Medical Journal surveyed 50 trials and reported that this remedy cured non-genital warts in 75% of the cases as opposed to 48% using a placebo.
  • Sassafras for Warts: Mix the oil (undiluted) with a thick sugar syrup and apply to the affected part.
  • Tape Cover the wart with any kind of medical or first aid tape or a band aid and leave on around the clock for three weeks, removing only to change the tape. This may cure the wart.
  • Tea A tea made from purple coneflower (echinacea), burdock root or red clover may build up your immunity to warts.
  • Thuja Apply a drop of Thuja tincture (an herbal remedy) directly on the wart from a dropper.
  • Tormentil for Warts: Apply the decoction as a fomentation, wrap with plastic bandage; when nearly dry, renew the application. Also drink the decoction internally. [SNH p.168]
  • Vitamin A Another remedy: crush a vitamin A capsule and mix it with just enough water to make a paste; apply directly to the wart; in the afternoon apply a drop of castor oil; in the evening apply a drop of lemon juice. Another source says to get capsules that contain 25,000 international units of natural vitamin A from fish oil or fish-liver oil. Simply break open a capsule, squeeze some of the liquid onto the wart, and rub it in. Apply this once a day. Note: It’s nearly impossible to overdose on foods high in Vitamin A and Cataplex A (A whole-food based vitamin A made by Standard Process labs) but taking synthetic Vitamin A (the Palmitate form and the kind you can get at the drugstore) can be harmful if taken in mega doses as it is a fat-soluble vitamin that stores up in the liver and can make the body toxic.
  • Vitamin A Palmitate in doses of 25,000 I.U., taken daily for a week to six months, had very good results in several tests.
  • Vitamin E Put the contents of one 100 I.U. of natural vitamin E capsule on a Band-Aid and cover the wart. Warts will soon disappear.
  • Vitamins
  • Walnuts, black Take some green (not fully ripe) black walnuts and make a few incisions in the outer shell; rub the juice on the warts. There may be a slight stinging sensation or the area may turn brown, but this is only temporary. Very effective.
  • Wart Buyers: There are certain people like Billy Lawler in Ireland with special gifts and talents. These people actually pay YOU to purchase your warts. If you spend the money the wart buyer gives you though, the wart will come back. One website explains:  “In addition to the coins there are also certain prayers involved. They were passed on to me by Uncle Billy in the same way I’ll pass them on to my son. And, as I say, the minute I do that I will lose the cure myself and he’ll have it. That’s the way of it”.
  • Washing soda Dissolve as much soda as the water will take up and wash the affected area for a minute or two; allow to dry without being wiped. Doing this for several days will destroy most warts.
  • Wild Lettuce for Warts: The expressed juice is “much regarded as an application to boils, abscesses and carbuncles, and if put upon warts will cause them to drop off.

Medical (Allopathic) Treatments for Warts:

Treatments such as anti-cancer drugs, new vaccines, cryotherapy (liquid nitrogen), acid preparations, laser therapy, and surgery have been used in the management of warts, with cure rates ranging from 32 to 93 percent. However, most of these therapies are expensive, painful, or labor intensive. Here’s a list of what’s out there:

  • 5-Fluorouracil 5% Cream (5-FU) is applied to affected areas. Do not use if trying to get pregnant.
  • Electrocautery is used to burn off warts. Ouch.
  • Gardasil (HPV Vaccine) a vaccine used in the prevention of genital warts. Lots of controversy here. Best when given before being exposed to the Human Papilloma Viruses (before sexual activity has begun.)
  • Imiquimod (Aldara) is a topical immune response cream which is applied to affected areas.
  • Interferon-alpha is injected directly into the wart. Expensive and does not reduce the rate of genital warts returning.
  • Liquid Nitrogen (Cryosurgery) to burn off the warts.
  • Podofilax solution (0.5%) is applied to affected areas but not washed off. Not safe for pregnant women. May cause birth defects.
  • Podophyllin 20% is an anti-mitotic solution applied to affected area and then washed off prevents cells from replicating. Not safe for pregnant women. May cause birth defects.
  • Pulsed Dye Laser treatments
  • Surgical removal of larger warts is in order if the other treatments do not work. Often in my veterinary practice I would remove small dog warts and tag warts under a local anesthetic and use a silver nitrate stick to stop the small amount of localized bleeding. It’s annoying for the groomers to nick these warts.
  • Trichloroacetic Acid (TCA) Topical application to burn off the warts.

However, most of these therapies are expensive, painful, or labor intensive. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Links to Pictures of Warts, Moles, Nevi, Birthmarks:

Genital Warts Pictures (or condyloma, or condylomata acuminata)

Please be advised that these links will take you to genital wart pictures that are graphic.

From: http://cancer.about.com/od/hpv/a/HPVpictures.htm

From Wikipedia:

Links to picture of moles (nevi):

Predisposing Factors for the Increased Susceptibility to Wart Viruses:

Factors that increase your risk of becoming infected include:

  • Having other STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases)
  • Multiple sex partners
  • Smoking
  • Jobs or hobbies that use gas, tar, pitch, petrochemicals and coal tar
  • Certain vitamin deficiencies
  • Medications or medical conditions that suppress the immune system, such as AIDS
  • Going barefoot (especially in public places) or wearing only one pair of shoes so that your shoes cannot air out properly between uses
  • People who do not attend to cuts on their cuticles (allows the wart virus into fingers) Apply appropriate antibiotic ointments to cuts/abrasions
  • People who pick at their own warts can spread them to other parts of their body
  • People under stress and with poor eating habits (eating lots of sugar) have suppressed immune systems and can be more susceptible to viruses in general

If you have had genital warts, you should be tested for cervical cancer at least once every year. Cervical cancer can be prevented with regular screening (Pap smears), and can be cured in most cases when it is detected in early stages.

Rule Outs:

  • Fordyce’s Spots: Genital warts should not be confused with Fordyce’s Spots (See Link for aa great picture of these on a man’s penis), which are considered benign. These are 1mm sized  painless, raised, white or pale dots.  Fordyce’s spots On the head of the penis these are called Tyson Glands and looks similar to Pearly Penile Papules (PPP or Hirsuties Papillaris Genitalis) which is a non-contagious condition of serum filled dots that surround the corona (head) of the penis. Lesions are persistent and remail through the lifetime of the individual. Here is a picture of what these look like: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hirsuties_papillaris_genitalis
  • Pyogenic granulomas, which look like red moles and are often caused from trauma (like shaving or cuts) are inflammatory vascular lesions (a low-grade infection) that may enlarge and may bleed but are completely benign.

Helpful websites: