Warts are small, rough, raised, unsightly patches of dead skin, usually found on the hands or feet, and are the most common human skin infection. Warts are caused by the human papillomavirus, (HPV-1) which enters your body through a break in the skin—we tend to pick up these unsavoury hitchhikers in places like gyms, swimming pools, dressing rooms, common shower areas and yoga studios. The virus implants itself just below the surface of your skin, and then goes to work building a protective shell of dead skin cells, which is what we commonly refer to as a wart.
Warts are generally considered unattractive, and as they are usually on a visible part of our body, we want to get rid of them, especially when they appear on the soles of our feet, causing us discomfort when we walk. Warts sometimes go away by themselves, but then there is also the risk that leaving them untreated can cause them to spread; both on your own body, and to other people.
There are many ways to remove warts, such as freezing them off; surgically removing them; or burning them off with salicylic acid, used in wart-removal remedies. There are also natural and less costly methods of removing warts, from using vinegar to covering them with duct tape. One of them most unusual ways is to use a banana: I first heard this method from my dermatologist, and it works—I tried it.
Don’t use just any banana: green or slightly yellow-green ones are the best. A banana’s moisture will soften a wart, allowing the banana’s virus-killing enzymes to penetrate down to the root of it. As bananas age, the enzymes in the skin break down the starches and fibers that are useful for killing viruses.
1) Soak the area around the wart for ten minutes—this softens the dead skin covering the wart and speeds up the process.
2) Use a pumice stone to remove the loose dead skin. Keep removing dead skin until it gets sensitive.
3) Apply a few drops of tea tree oil to the wart.
4) Cut a piece of banana peel large enough to cover the wart, and place soft side down.
5) Hold the banana skin in place with a bandage.
6) Replace the banana skin when it dries out.
The virus is least vulnerable when the skin covering it is dry: the banana skin keeps the wart moist and allows the tea tree oil to penetrate down to the level where the virus lives—this oil will kill the virus when it comes into contact with it. You may have to repeat the steps above several times, and each time, you will find the wart shrinks a bit. Keep at it until the wart disappears; if you slack off, the virus will hurry to grow the protective layer back. So, the next time you eat a banana, remember there are other uses for the skin before you throw it out.
Featured photo credit: Bunch Of Ripe Bananas At A Street Market In Istanbul via Shutterstock