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Difference between a blister and a wart

Blister

Blister vs wart

Many skin conditions look alike but there is a vast difference in the underlying pathology. A blister is a fluid filled tiny sac formed between the upper layers of the skin most commonly due to friction whereas a wart is a cauliflower-like growth over skin due to a viral infection.

A blister may be formed due to causes like repeated friction, rubbing, extremes of temperature, exposure to chemical agents etc. Blisters always affect only the superficial skin layers and are formed in specific areas of the body like soles, feet, hands, face etc. There is fluid accumulation between the upper layer and the lower layers of the skin so as to provide a cushioning effect to the abrasion and enhance healing.

A blister produced due to friction is the result of constant rubbing and is seen especially in areas prone to such friction like the feet and hands. It has been observed that in patients wearing ill-fitting foot wear for a long duration, blisters occur repeatedly. Blisters are also seen in patients post burns and after exposure to freezing temperatures due to frost bites. In case of burns, blisters are very important in determining the stage of burns. Blisters form immediately in secondary burns whereas they form gradually over the next few days in case of primary burns. Lastly, blisters are also formed when certain cosmetics, detergents, solvents containing chemicals come in contact with skin.

Wart

Warts are formed due to hypertrophy (growth) of the layers of the skin due to an infection with the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Warts can be of various varieties like flat warts, warts with stem, genital warts etc. Warts are contagious in nature and can be acquired from others due to their infectious nature while blisters are not contagious. Warts can be seen on any part all over body including face, genitals, etc. They range from being brown, black to dark red in color. Mostly they are tiny but occasionally large warts may be encountered too.

Blisters are painful if they involve deeper layers of skin whereas warts are always painless. Blisters may lead to complications if not taken care of and may get infected with bacteria leading to pus formation while warts are harmless cosmetic affections. Medical conditions like chickenpox, herpes, impetigo have blisters in their course of presentation. Blisters may be filled with a clear fluid, blood or pus in case of an infection while warts are made up of enlarged, toughened skin cells.

Blisters heal by themselves but can be prevented in the first place. Application of moisturizers and sun block are helpful in avoiding blisters due to excessive heat. Also, wearing comfortable foot wear that allow ventilation and socks helps. Avoiding prolonged exposure of hands and feet in extreme cold temperatures is essential.

Warts have multiple treatment options like oral medications, local applications and minor surgical procedures. If medicines are not helpful then people opt for application of creams and ointments which make the warts fall off. In case all these measures do not work, warts may be cauterized with controlled electrical current (burnt) or surgically removed. Alternative medications like homoeopathy are known to be particularly helpful in treating warts and might be worth a shot before opting for surgery.

Summary:

Blisters occur due to excessive friction whereas warts are a result of infection with Human Papilloma Virus contracted from other persons suffering from it. Blisters are painful whereas warts do not cause pain or complications except a poor cosmetic appearance.

Image Credit :
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Chickenpox_blister-(closeup).jpg 
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Plantar_warts.jpg

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