Warts are generally harmless and not painful, but if you have them, you probably want to eliminate them because they’re unsightly. You may be feeling self-conscious about it, so you’re looking for solutions.
Many treatments for warts are available, whether home remedies or medical treatments. But if you have sensitive skin, you may need to be more cautious, as some medicines that may work for others may cause irritation for your skin. In this article, learn how you can deal with warts when you have sensitive skin:
What are Warts?
Warts are small, rough, and raised bumps on the skin that resemble solid blisters. They can be a source of annoyance and discomfort when it’s under the foot. These skin growths are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), which infects the skin through a cut. Warts are contagious and can spread from person to person or from one part of the body to another by direct contact with a wart, touching a contaminated object, nail-biting, cuticle picking, sexual contact, or shaving.
Warts may appear in different forms and colors, such as dome-shaped, flat, rough, skin-colored, brown, gray, or black. Doctors can usually diagnose warts through a visual examination and may also take a skin sample for biopsy to test for HPV. Although most warts go away on their own, some may cause problems.
For example, HPV and genital warts have been linked to various types of cancers, but you can reduce your risk of getting genital warts by getting vaccinated against HPV and using condoms. People with weakened immune systems or autoimmune disorders may develop clusters of unappealing warts on their hands, faces, or body. Infections may occur if a wart is picked or cut, as bacteria can enter the wound.
While children are more susceptible to warts due to frequent cuts and scrapes, anyone can get them. The elderly and individuals with weakened immune systems or autoimmune disorders are at a higher risk of developing warts caused by HPV.
How to Deal with Warts if You Have Sensitive Skin
If your skin is sensitive, you may need to be more cautious when treating warts. Here are some tips for treating warts if you have sensitive skin:
Use a lower concentration of medication
Be cautious when using chemical treatments for warts, such as salicylic acid. Even though these treatments are generally safe, they may cause irritation or even damage to sensitive skin.
One way to reduce the risk of irritation is to use a lower concentration of the medication. For example, if you have been using a 17% salicylic acid cream, you may want to try using a 10% cream instead. This lower concentration may still be effective in treating your wart while minimizing the risk of skin irritation.
Make sure to follow the instructions carefully when using any medication or treatment. Avoid applying the medication to healthy skin, and be careful not to over-treat the area. If you experience discomfort or irritation, stop using the medicine and consult your doctor or a dermatologist.
Try home remedies
If you have sensitive skin, it’s important to avoid harsh chemicals on the skin for treating warts. For some people, using typical wart treatments like salicylic acid may cause skin irritation, redness, or even further damage to the skin. Instead, consider using natural remedies like tea tree oil or apple cider vinegar.
Tea tree oil is a natural essential oil with antiviral and antifungal properties, making it effective in treating warts. To use tea tree oil, dilute a few drops of the oil in carrier oil, such as coconut oil or olive oil, and apply it to the affected area using a cotton ball. Be sure to do a patch test on a small area of skin first to make sure you don’t have an allergic reaction to the oil.
Apple cider vinegar is another natural remedy that can treat warts effectively. The acidic properties of apple cider vinegar help to break down the wart tissue, making it easier to remove. To use apple cider vinegar, soak a cotton ball in the vinegar and apply it to the affected area, securing it in place with a bandage or tape. Leave it on overnight and repeat the process each night until the wart is gone.
Remember, natural remedies may take longer to work than chemical treatments, so be patient and consistent with your treatment. If you experience discomfort or irritation, stop the treatment and consult a healthcare professional.
Protect the surrounding skin
When using a chemical treatment for warts, it is essential to protect the surrounding skin to prevent any irritation or damage. One way to do this is by applying a barrier, such as petroleum jelly, around the wart before using the medication. This will create a protective layer preventing the drug from spreading to healthy skin.
To do this, first, clean the area around the wart with mild soap and water. Then, apply a small amount of petroleum jelly around the wart, being careful not to apply it directly onto the wart. This will help to create a protective barrier between the medication and healthy skin.
After applying the medication, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly to prevent the medicine from spreading to other parts of your body or to other people. Repeat this process daily until the wart is gone.
In addition to using petroleum jelly, you can also use other skin protectants, such as a bandage or tape, to cover the area around the wart. This will help to prevent the medication from coming into contact with the surrounding skin and causing irritation.
Test the treatment on a small area first
Before using a new treatment on a larger area, test it on a small patch of skin to ensure it doesn’t cause an allergic reaction or irritation.
To test the treatment, apply a small amount of the treatment to a small area of skin, such as the inside of your wrist or elbow. Leave the treatment on for the recommended amount of time and then wash it off. Wait at least 24 hours to see if there are any adverse reactions. If you experience redness, itching, or irritation, it’s best to discontinue the use of the treatment and try a different one.
By testing the treatment on a small area first, you can avoid potential discomfort or damage to your skin.
Talk to your doctor
If you have sensitive skin, it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before trying a new treatment. They may be able to recommend a treatment that is less likely to irritate your skin. If you already have other skin conditions that make it sensitive, you probably already see a dermatologist, so it’s best to consult them if you also have warts on top of it.
Try cryotherapy with less aggressive freezing
If you have warts on top of sensitive skin, your doctor may recommend treating it with cryotherapy. It involves freezing the wart with liquid nitrogen, causing the skin to blister and eventually fall off. While this method can be effective, it can also be quite harsh on sensitive skin. However, a less aggressive form of freezing can be used for people with sensitive skin.
Instead of using liquid nitrogen, a milder freezing agent like nitrous oxide may be used. This less intense freezing method can still effectively remove warts without causing as much irritation or discomfort to the surrounding skin.
It is important to note that even with a less aggressive form of cryotherapy, some mild discomfort, redness, or blistering may still occur. Following proper aftercare instructions and protecting the surrounding skin with petroleum jelly or a similar product during the healing process is also essential. It is recommended to discuss with a healthcare professional before using cryotherapy for the treatment of warts, especially if you have sensitive skin.
Immunotherapy is a treatment that involves using the body’s own immune system to fight off the virus that causes warts. This can be an effective option for people with sensitive skin because it does not involve using harsh chemicals or invasive procedures.
Immunotherapy for warts works by stimulating the immune system to recognize and attack the virus that causes warts. This can be done through a number of different methods, including the use of topical creams or injections. One common type of immunotherapy for warts is the use of imiquimod cream, which is applied to the affected area and works by stimulating the immune system to produce interferon. This natural antiviral substance helps to destroy the virus.
Another type of immunotherapy for warts is the use of intralesional injections, which involve injecting a solution directly into the wart. This solution contains substances that stimulate the immune system and can help to eliminate the wart. This method is generally well-tolerated and can be effective for people with sensitive skin.
It is important to note that immunotherapy for warts may take several weeks or even months to be effective, and it may not work for everyone. Additionally, immunotherapy can sometimes cause skin irritation or other side effects, so it is essential to discuss this treatment option with a healthcare provider to determine if it is a good choice for you.
As with anything, prevention is better than cure – and that rings especially true for those who have sensitive skin. Having sensitive skin is hard enough to deal with, and you don’t want to add warts on top of that. Here are some tips to help prevent warts:
Practice good hand hygiene
Regularly wash your hands with soap and water, especially after touching warts or surfaces that may be contaminated with the virus.
Avoid touching someone’s wart
HPV is contagious, so the virus can get through your skin through a cut or scratch, which can cause warts. Warts can easily spread to other areas of your body, so avoid touching them if possible.
Keep your skin healthy and moisturized
Keeping your skin healthy and well-moisturized can help prevent warts from developing. When your skin is cracked and dry, it’s easier for HPV to slip in. Avoid picking at cuts or hangnails, and keep your feet dry to prevent plantar warts. Use sunscreen to prevent burns.
Cover your cuts and scrapes
If you have injuries, cover them with a bandage. HPV is everywhere, and if you touch something contaminated with HPV, it’s easier for the virus to get inside the body through a cut or scrape.
Avoid sharing personal items
Do not share personal items like towels, washcloths, razors, nail clippers, socks, and similar items. These unique items may come into contact with warts or the virus that causes them. If someone in your household has warts, this helps prevent the virus from spreading from one person to another.
Stop biting or nibbling your nails
Biting your nails or cuticles breaks the skin around the nail beds, causing sores and tears in the skin that are too small to see. These openings allow the HPV to enter and get inside the body. Some viral particles remain dormant in skin cells, but an injury can wake them up.
Wear protective footwear
Wear shoes, sandals, or flip-flops in public areas where the virus may be present, such as locker rooms, showers, and pool decks. HPV thrives in warm and moist places like these, and if your feet are unprotected, you’re at risk of picking up HPV shed from the feet of people who have plantar warts – warts found on the soles of the feet that tend to be harder to treat than warts on the hands.
Boost your immune system
Eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and managing stress can all help boost your immune system, which can, in turn, help prevent warts.
The HPV vaccine can help prevent certain types of warts, including genital warts. If you’re at risk of developing warts because of being in close contact with people who have one, it might be a wise decision to get vaccinated against HPV. Talk to your doctor about whether the vaccine is suitable for you.
This is a medical condition characterized by excessive sweating. Those with this condition may sweat when others feel comfortable or cool, leading to damp and soft skin. This moist environment may increase the risk of contracting HPV infection, which can result in the development of warts.
Dealing with warts with sensitive skin can be daunting, but it’s not impossible. With the right approach, you can effectively get rid of warts without causing harm to your skin. Remember to always consult with a dermatologist or healthcare professional before trying any treatments, especially if you have sensitive skin. By being proactive and taking steps to prevent future outbreaks, you can regain control over your skin and live confidently. Don’t let warts hold you back – take action today and reclaim your skin health!