Filfiform Warts – Cause and Treatments for Face and Eye Wart

facial-filiform-warts

Filiform Warts: Warts on the Face

Alternate names: facial warts, facial wart

What are Filiform Warts?

 Warts are almost a universal problem; ugly and sometimes painful growths that can occur in many parts of the body. Each one is named after its clinical appearance and location. Filiform warts appear to be very different when compared to any other warts.

They are long, narrow, frond-like and flesh-colored growths that can occur on their own or, rarely, as clusters around the eyelids, face, neck, or lips and their growth can be rapid. They lengthen up to 2 millimeters from your skin.

Like any other warts, they are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). It is highly contagious, and this virus can be transmitted through direct skin contact especially when there is a skin opening like a wound, a cut or scratches, etc. These lesions are non-cancerous but normally causes discomfort to the patient.

Because they are on the face, they tend to be the most visible outwardly of all warts and this is always a major concern for people.

Causes of Filiform Warts

 There are over a hundred strains of HPV that have been identified and a filiform wart is a variation of the common wart and is caused by the human papillomavirus strains 1, 2, 4, 27, and 29. However, there is no guarantee that you’ll be growing filiform warts when you get infected with these specific strains. They replicate in the warm moist skin epidermis which causes the top layer of skin to grow rapidly, forming a wart.

Filiform warts are also infectious and can be spread by sharing towels or facial products. Touching a facial wart puts a person at risk of spreading it to other parts of the body. Warts will increase in size and number if they are not removed. You will not get facial warts every time you come into contact with HPV, and some people will never be affected.

There are some factors considered for a person to grow warts when infected with HPV. One of the most considered factors is the immune system of a person. The weaker your immune system, the more chances that you’ll likely grow warts.

Symptoms of Filiform Warts

 Filiform warts, also known as facial warts, are benign, long, brush-like growths that usually occur on the eyelids and surrounding areas, the neck, and the lips. The most common symptoms are itching, bleeding or a person may notice them when they spread elsewhere. These types of warts are largely painless, although they can become sore and irritable as they tend to be in places where people rub the skin.

Filiform Warts around Eyes

How to Get Rid of Filiform Warts

 Filiform warts are usually benign and easy to treat. In order to remove filiform warts, you must make a visit to your doctor. Do not ever use over the counter wart treatments anywhere on your face or neck unless your doctor specifically tells you to.

With many remedies, the aim is to elicit an immune response to the presence of warts. Topical irritants such as salicylic acid, trichloroacetic acid, and 5-fluorouracil can be effective, either on their own or used in conjunction with a more aggressive method such as cryotherapy (where the wart is frozen), surgical excision, or laser light.

The problem with excision is that it can lead to scarring. Doctors will also consider immunotherapy where a substance is injected into the wart to cause an allergic reaction, though this can sometimes be painful.

Another option is to make a patient allergic to a chemical which is then painted on the filiform wart to cause an allergic reaction. HPV is nothing if not tenacious, and currently, there is no cure for HPV infection. The only direct offense to HPV is through vaccinations that target specific strains of HPV. However, there are no vaccines that attack specific HPV strains that cause filiform warts.

Most treatments are designed to eradicate signs and symptoms of warts (Lipke, M. An Armamentarium of Wart Treatments. Clin Med Res. 2006 December; 4 (4): 273-293.) Currently, no single treatment is fully effective in all patients. Like any other warts, they normally just disappear after a long time because of our immune system.

An outbreak of Filiform Type of Warts on Face

Traditional Facial Wart Removal options

If you really intend to remove these lesions off your face, then here are some of your traditional method options:

Surgical Excision

This method can be really painful so, local anesthesia may be used to ease the pain. A scalpel is used to trim off the filiform wart and this isn’t all at once. The doctor may have to perform the method a lot of times to make sure that it’s effective.

Electrosurgery

This method uses electricity to burn off the wart tissue. An electric needle is heated up and inserted in the wart to destroy it. This is normally combined with a method called curettage, which uses a spoon-like tool with a sharp edge to scrape of wart tissue. Local anesthesia may be administered because the method can be painful.

Cryotherapy

Considered one of the most common ways to treat filiform warts. There are different ways to do cryotherapy. The first one is done by trimming the wart to create an opening and spraying liquid nitrogen on the filiform wart with the help of the doctor. Do not try treating your filiform warts with liquid nitrogen by yourself. A local anesthetic may be administered, depending on how big the wart or the affected area is, to alleviate pain. To some patients, it may cause pigmentation.  

The second method can be performed at home. In this case, you will not be treating your filiform warts with liquid nitrogen but a combination of propane and dimethyl ether. These cryotherapy kits can be purchased over the counter. However, these are not as good as the liquid nitrogen the doctor would use, but can help remove warts over time with the consistent application. Examples of cryotherapy kits you can purchase are Compound W Freeze Off and Freeze Away Easy Wart Remover. Each of these products may have a different set of instructions for application. So, make sure to read and follow them.

Cantharidin

Cantharidin is a toxic chemical that is secreted by blister beetles. A diluted form of cantharidin is painted over the filiform wart and is covered with a non-porous tape. Blistering will occur on the filiform wart until its dead. It will then be removed by your doctor by cutting it after a week. https://warts.org/wart-removal/cantharidin

Those who have weak immune systems like children or the elderly may take a long time to remove warts. When various types of treatments used have failed, your doctor may recommend that you take a more serious treatment. The doctor may recommend laser wart removal or immunotherapy treatment.

Treating a Filiform Wart Using a Home Remedy Wart Treatment

You may also use alternative home remedies to help slowly remove the wart painlessly. A slight caution when treating filiform warts with home remedies. Please avoid doing home treatment if:

  • You are asked to cut the wart or stroke it with a nail file.
  • You are diabetic. You may not feel anything when treating yourself and can cause injury.

Here are some home remedies and over the counter medications you may use to treat filiform warts (these remedies are covered in full detail at https://warts.org/wart-removal/natural as well):

  • Salicylic Acid – Soak the wart in warm water then use a wet cloth to place salicylic acid on to the wart. This may take a few weeks to see visible results. Make sure to apply salicylic acid consistently until the wart is visibly removed.
  • Topical Creams – Imiquimod and 5-Fluorouracil are examples of a topical cream that can be used to treat warts. These are also examples of topical immunotherapy treatment.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – Drench a cotton ball in apple cider and place it on the wart. If you start to feel a burning feeling, you may discontinue the use of apple cider vinegar.

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