Warts are typically tough, flesh-colored little bumps on your skin caused by what’s known as the human papillomavirus. Though usually harmless, these growths can appear anywhere on your face or body. But, say women doctors, they show up most frequently on the hands and feet.
Warts vary in appearance. Some are raised and rough, others are flat and smooth and some can even look reddish or blackened, because of tiny, blocked-off blood vessels trapped within the wart says Dr. Suzanne M Levine, a podiatrist. Some people are vulnerable to warts all over their bodies because their immune systems aren’t effective at fighting off the wart virus.
Warts are contagious, says Dr. Karen K Deasey. So if you have a wart on your finger and pick at your face, you can get warts on your face too. It’s not as common, but you can also get warts from others via hand-to-hand contact, says Dr. Deasey. By the way, genital warts are caused by a different strain of the virus, and are usually passed through genital contact, says Dr. D’Anne Kleinsmith
DECLARE WAR ON WARTS
A wart may disappear on its own. But if it lingers, and you find it disfiguring or you’re afraid of it spreading, you can try taking matters into your own hands. Here are women doctors’ tips on how to declare war on warts.
Keep it dry. Carefully towel-dry your hands (or whatever body part has the wart) after washing. The wart virus loves a moist environment, so if you keep it dry, you’ll reduce its chance of spreading.” says Dr. Levine.
Visit your local chemist. Check out the wart remedy section in your pharmacy, says Dr. Deasey. You’ll find that wart preparation comes in the form of patches, films, polishes, and liquids. The most effective wart treatments typically contain salicylic acid, which erodes away the wart.
Use a dropper-type product. I recommend liquid treatments that you apply to the wart with a dropper. Then you cover it with a plaster, leave it on overnight and wash it off in the morning,” says Dr. Kleinsmith “Some treatments come with droppers.”
Follow directions to the letter. “Wart medicines can irritate healthy skin nearby as well, so you have to follow directions carefully,” cautions Dr. Deasey
Be patient. “You have to use the product every day for up to six to eight weeks,” says Dr. Deasey “Do it and do it and do it until it works.”
Ace it with vitamin A. “There is substantial evidence that vitamin A helps to build your immune system and fight warts,” says Dr. Levine – Good food sources of vitamin A include carrots, sweet peas, squash, and leafy green vegetables. (For the practical ways to manage genital warts and veruccas.
WHEN TO SEE A DOCTOR
If you’ve tried over-the-counter products and your wart doesn’t improve within a month or two, it’s time to visit your GP or a dermatologist, says Dr. D’Anne Kleinsmith. The wart can be removed with a topically applied chemical liquid nitrogen — surgery or laser.
Women should also see a doctor immediately for treatment if they notice warts on their legs. “Even if you have just one wart on your leg, it is easy to spread it with your razor. One nick of the skin will open up the wart and the virus will spread,” cautions Dr. Kleinsmith – Warts on your face should always be treated by a dermatologist because the skin on your face is too delicate and visible to risk trying home treatments.