Skin Matters

Here's What You Should Know About Warts

They're small but terrible - and should be treated, stat!

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Sorry, guys. "Warts" are as disgusting as they sound they’re skin growths caused by a virus - specifically, the human papillomavirus (HPV). They can grow anywhere on your body: on your fingers, toes, knees, and - gasp!—even on your face. (Facial warts are commonly flat warts, and can be pink, slightly yellow, or the same color as your skin.) But if you think they’re harmless, think again. When left untreated, warts can literally take over your looks, one tiny bump at a time. Here are five alarming reasons why you should be mindful when it comes to these little skin anomalies.

1. They’re so easy to acquire.

HPV is, unfortunately, ever-present. Even the biggest neat freak can come in contact with it with everyday activities such as shaking hands, opening doors, or using telephones. Not all contact with HPV will give you warts, though; some people are more likely to get warts than others. (Some MDs blame it on weak immune systems, so always load up on your vitamins and supplements.)

2. They’re contagious.

Once your virus comes in contact with your skin, you can easily spread it by touching your face and other parts of your body. You can also infect others or get infected by sharing towels or makeup, or by direct skin-to-skin contact.
 

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3. They can easily multiply.

Since the virus is easily spread, a singular wart on your cheek now can double or triple in time, until your face is teeming with unsightly skin growths. (Every wart is a mother wart that can have babies!) This is why controlling the growths is crucial. Moreover, the spread can be aggravated by poor hygiene, especially when it comes to products or makeup tools you use on the face. Remember: keep your hands clean all the time, and always sanitize anything that touches your skin - towels and sheets included!

4. They thrive when skin isn’t healthy.

Broken skin is particularly at higher risk - the virus is able to easily penetrate the top layer if you have cuts or scratches. Try to keep your skin as healthy as possible with regular cleansing and moisturization, and avoid having open cuts or fissures. (This means no zit popping!)

5. Treatment is not always easy.

Some warts go away on their own, but others aren’t as easily removed. At-home treatments include salicylic acid or a propane freezing solution (ask a PDS-certified derma about this!). But the fastest way to nick warts is through electrocautery, which uses heat to remove the warts permanently. It can get pricey, though, since most dermas charge per piece. Plus, you’ll be sporting a face full of scabs for a few days while your skin heals. The payoff is worth it, though: smooth, bump-free skin, at last!

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PDS is the only specialty society in Dermatology recognized by the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) and the Philippine College of Physicians (PCP). PDS is not an endorser of any product found in the site.


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