Is It Normal If Wart Turned Black After Freezing?

Warts are primarily caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) virus. These pesky little growths seem to appear out of nowhere, growing up from your skin where the virus has invaded through a scratch or other lesion. HPV is present all around you - on a door knob, counter top, even a computer keyboard – so it is easy to get a wart. Most of the time, they don’t hurt. However, there are several strains of the virus and five types of warts to contend with:

  • Common warts – typically found on hands, fingers and knees
  • Plantar warts – located on the bottom of feet
  • Flat warts – found on forehead or face
  • Subungual, periungual warts – appear around the nails on fingers and toes
  • Genital warts – found on pubic area, inner thighs or genitals

Warts can invade and be found on any part of your body. With over 100 strains of HPV, don’t be surprised to find one growing on your skin, on your face, in your mouth, on your hands or feet, and even in your rectal and genital area. The common wart and genital warts don’t necessarily come from the same strain, so they are not the same type of wart. Some people are more susceptible to getting warts, while others have a natural resistance to the virus.

Wart Turned Black After Freezing, Is It Normal?

There are several types of treatments for warts. One of the most effective is the freezing method using liquid nitrogen. If your wart turned black after freezing, this is a sign the treatment is working and it is dying. The black part is where the blood supply feeding the wart has been killed and once it hardens, it will fall off.

The same thing happens with other forms of wart treatment. However, remember no matter the type of treatment, you do not want to stop until the wart is completely dead. If you stop when the wart turned black, but did not fall off yet, it can grow back. Complete the full course of the treatment, unless otherwise directed.

A majority of the time, warts may go away on their own. They can turn black without the use of medication, because your immune system is fighting them off. When this occurs, the warts will dry up and fall off.

What about Other Color Changes During Treatments?

If your wart turned black after freezing, it is a clear indication your course of treatment is working. However, black is not the only color it may turn. To start with, a wart is usually off color of your normal skin. Often, they are yellow or grey looking. Sometimes, warts can even turn brown or white when dying. White is usually a reaction from wart acid treatment and it indicates that the top layers are dying. To get rid of the dead skin, use a disposable nail file to rub off. It works best after a bath or shower. On occasion, you can even see teeny little dots on the inside of your wart. They have no true significance. They are simply capillary blood vessels that have dried up in it, either naturally or because of treatment.

Know How Freezing - Cryosurgery Works

What is cryosurgery?

Cryosurgery is designed to remove your wart without damaging the skin surrounding it. It is a 2-step process, with the first step done at home and the second in your doctor’s office. First, you will follow instructions to prep your wart and secondly your doctor will freeze it. It may take more than one treatment session to completely kill it.

How do I prepare for cryosurgery?

Your doctor will give you detailed instructions on what to do to prepare for wart cryosurgery. Make sure to follow the directions, as it will help reduce the number of treatments needed. Be prepared to do the following:

  • In the evening for 14 days, wash your wart with soapy water and apply a 17% salicylic acid gel provided by your doctor or purchased at drug store.
  • Once gel is applied, cut a piece of 40% salicylic acid pad to the size to cover the wart and secure it with sticky backing.
  • Leave on until the next evening. Remove and repeat process for a total of 2 weeks.
  • If your wart or the skin surrounding it becomes red, irritated or sore, avoid using the gel until you speak with your doctor. Also, if the salicylic acid pad comes off during the day with daily activity, you can just wear it in the evening.

What to expect after cryosurgery?

Your wart will turn white and have a fuzzy appearance after 10 – 14 days. You will return to your doctor’s office and the layer of skin over the wart will be removed. The doctor will then perform cryosurgery at the root or base of the wart to freeze it. Make sure you let your doctor know if your skin is sensitive to cold temperatures.

Cryosurgery for wart removal can cause discomfort, but should not be extremely painful. The freezing process can actually have a numbing effect. When the instrument is placed on your wart, the feeling is similar to that of ice stuck on skin. As the wart and the skin surrounding it thaws, you may have a burning sensation.

The healing process after cryosurgery is fairly quick. While waiting for the area of skin to heal, you should be able to do your normal daily routine and activities. There should be very little scaring. Sometimes, no mark is left. However, the skin where the wart used to be may be slightly lighter than the area of skin surrounding it.

Other Treatments Available

Not all warts are removed the same way. While it is okay to try over-the-counter medications or home treatments on warts located on your feet, fingers, knees and hands, you should never try to treat yourself if you suffer from genital warts. The skin in this area is very sensitive and you could cause permanent damage if you chemically burn the area. You should avoid treating warts on your face without the advice of your physician. Common wart treatments include:

  • Salicylic acid  Warts located on your feet, knees or hands can be treated by applying salicylic acid on the wart. It is available over-the-counter, with one common over-the-counter brand being Compound W. It may take daily treatments over several weeks to get rid of the wart. After showering, lightly dry your skin with a towel. The treatment works best when put on damp skin. Put the salicylic acid on your wart and each day before you shower, use a pumice stone or emery file to remove any dead skin on the wart.
  • Cantharidin – Cantharidin is a chemical that essentially kills your wart. It is applied by your doctor, who brushes onto the wart. A few hours after application, your wart will blister. It can be painful, but it is an effective type of treatment. If you are treated with cantharidin only, a bandage will be applied that must stay in place for 24 hours. Sometimes, cantharidin is mixed with other chemicals. In this case, a bandage is also applied but can usually be removed after 2-3 hours. On your next doctor’s appointment, any dead skin on the wart will be removed. You may need more than one treatment.
  • Liquid nitrogen – Another type of treatment for warts is cryosurgery, also known as cryotherapy. Your doctor will apply liquid nitrogen on your wart, which essentially freezes and kills it. If you have had this method of treatment and your wart turned black after freezing, it is normal. The color is the result of your wart’s blood supply being cut-off. It may take a few treatments before your wart is completely removed.

Other methods

There are also several other treatments for wart removal. Your doctor may choose to cut out the wart, burn it or using laser to remove it. All these treatments may leave a scar and are usually only performed on stubborn warts that don’t respond to other removal methods.

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