Skin warts often seem like they appear out of nowhere. One minute, you’re happily enjoying your body, and the next you have a large patch of rough skin on your foot. What’s going on?
Where Do Warts Come From?
Most warts form after someone comes into contact with the human papillomavirus (HPV). The virus is everywhere, including on door handles, other people’s skin, and keyboards.
The virus usually takes advantage of weak sections of the skin. It gets in through the cracks and then starts to form a wart, usually the result of an overproduction of keratin.
Researchers now believe there are more than 100 different types of the HPV virus. The fact that they are everywhere means that the average person will have at least one wart somewhere on their body at some time in their lives.
What Happens When Someone Gets A Skin Wart?
People tend to develop warts several months after coming into contact with the HPV virus. Usually, it comes from skin-to-skin contact with people who don’t wash their hands. However, you can also pick it up from inanimate objects, such as towels or toothbrushes used by someone else.
HPV tends to bounce off healthy skin. However, if your skin is damaged or broken, it can get in and a wart will form. As any podiatrist will tell you, this process is common on the feet, though it can occur elsewhere.
Biting your fingernails (or toenails) is a bad idea because it increases the risk of warts forming. Once infection sets in, it provides HPV with an opportunity to become established in the surrounding tissue.
Why Do Some People Get Warts But Others Don’t?
Researchers still aren’t entirely sure why warts seem to affect some people more than others. However, it could be because of differences in immune systems. Some people can fight off invaders while others find it significantly more challenging.
Children, for example, are more likely to get warts on their skin than adults. That’s because their bodies are still building their defenses against dangerous pathogens in the environment. As they come into contact with more papillomavirus strains, they get better at fighting them off.
Genetic makeup is also a factor. Some individuals are more likely to have skin prone to viral invasion than others. However, the precise mechanism in the immune system that causes people to get warts frequently is still being researched.
What Can You Do To Prevent Warts?
Fortunately, there are several things you can do to prevent skin warts and stop them from ruining your life.
First, make sure you wash your hands regularly and thoroughly. Soap and warm water will kill most viruses on your skin.
Second, don’t walk barefoot in public spaces, particularly swimming pools and gym locker rooms. There may be high concentrations of HPV on the floor.
Lastly, rub down the equipment you use in the gym with a clean towel. If you are particularly prone to warts, wear gloves in public and wash your hands after every gym session.