Warts tend to carry a stigma in our society, and there are plenty of myths and rumors about where they come from, like touching frogs. In reality, warts on the hands, feet, and other non-genital areas are the result of certain mild strains of human papillomavirus and they’re generally harmless, but they still aren’t features anyone wants on their skin. Use these tips on how to prevent warts from our skin health experts at Dermatology Associates of Atlanta.
Wear Shower Shoes in Public Showers and Locker Rooms
Plantar warts, warts that develop on the feet, often come from HPV that spreads in warm, damp areas with a lot of foot traffic. This includes locker rooms and public showers, for example. If you use these facilities, avoid putting your bare feet on the ground. Use shower shoes instead.
Minimize Sharing of Personal Items
Warts are contagious because the virus that causes them can spread through touch contact. HPV is everywhere and including on people’s skin. To reduce your contact with HPV, be sure not to share personal items with others, particularly items that have a lot of contact with your skin like towels, washcloths, nail clippers, and socks.
Cover Cuts and Scrapes
For HPV to cause a wart, it needs to get into your skin, and it does this most easily through open injuries in your skin like cuts and scrapes. Any time you have a cut or scrape, be sure to keep them covered with a bandage until they heal.
Don’t Bite Your Nails
Biting or picking at your nails, your cuticles, or the skin around your nails can create small tears and cuts in your skin. Some of these tears are so small that you may not notice them. These cuts can let HPV into your skin so that it causes a wart, and this area is particularly high-risk because your fingers come into contact with so many shared surfaces throughout the day.
Prevent Spreading from Existing Warts
As we noted, warts are contagious because the virus that causes them is contagious. If you get a wart, not only could it spread to other people, but it could also spread to other areas of your body that it comes into contact with. To avoid this spread, cover any wart you have. It’s also important to avoid shaving over a wart because the razor can create microtears in the wart, making the HPV more likely to spread.
Keep Your Skin Hydrated
Some people are more prone to dry skin than others, but especially during the winter, skin can become so dry that it cracks, even to the point of bleeding. When this happens, it creates openings in your skin where HPV can get in and cause a wart. For this reason, it’s important to keep your skin hydrated with moisturizer, especially during the winter season.
Wash Your Hands Often
HPV can be on surfaces all around us, and your hands come into contact with many more surfaces than you probably realize on a daily basis. If you wash your hands often, you’re less likely to transfer HPV that your hands have touched to other areas of your body. Of course, washing your hands frequently can make them dry, so apply moisturizing hand lotion after you wash them to avoid cracking as well.
Warts may not be a serious threat to your health but can be an uncomfortable and embarrassing nuisance. Use the tips above to lower your risk for warts, but if you do develop a wart, our wart removal treatments by knowledgeable skin health specialists can help. We offer multiple effective treatments for warts, including V-Beam Perfecta and the innovative and FDA-approved CellFX®. Call Dermatology Associates of Atlanta to schedule a treatment appointment for your non-genital warts today.