Your Most Embarrassing Beauty Problems - Decoded
Too mortified to talk to your friends or derm about your gross beauty issues? Here's the ugly truth on what's causing them -- and how to lose them for good
What it actually is: All warts are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV) (yes, that one). There are about 150 different strains of HPV, and while some cause skin cancer, throat cancer, and cervical cancer, many, like the kind that show up on your skin, only manifest as a harmless (albeit unsightly) growth.
How you get it: The HPV virus can only be passed from person-to-person contact or by touching something the germ has contaminated (think: locker room floor, sharing towels or razors) that then gets into the skin.
How you get rid of it: According to Dr. Krant, over-the-counter treatments do a good job of treating common warts (verruca vulgaris) and small plantar warts that occur on the bottom of the feet. Try a salicylic acid product from Curad or DuoFilm. But Krant offers this word of caution: You must be diligent and continue the treatments long after you expect, because most warts take several weeks to a few months to disappear. If your wart doesn't respond to OTC methods, get thee to a dermatologist. "The earlier [warts] are caught, the easier they are to get rid of," says Krant. A derm can freeze, cut off or burn (pass the anesthesia, please) the wart. Prescriptions are also available. One final word: Dr. Krant recommends forgoing at-home treatments if the wart is on your face or genital area. For those, see a dermatologist right away. Random note: The aforementioned wart that plagued the author of this story was frozen and removed. The initial freezing didn't hurt, but it did sting for a few days after. It never came back, so I can do the lotus pose in yoga class without inducing PTSD.
How you prevent it: Wash your hands! All the time. If you work out at a gym, wipe down the equipment before you get your sweat on. If you shower at the gym, wear flip-flops. If you already have a wart, picking at it will make it spread -- not only to other people, but also to other parts of your body.
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