SKIN REPUBLIC (The Freeman) - September 23, 2019 - 12:00am

Dear Dr. Jen,

I have a wart on my hand.  I’ve had it for a few years now. What is the least painful way to treat the wart?  I have tried applying some wart-off solutions but without any success.


Dear Gilliane,

Warts are caused by a virus.  You can get warts via transmission from handling anything that contains the virus, from pens, to doorknobs, dumbbells, and nail cutters.  Usually, the virus doesn’t easily penetrate the skin unless your immune system is low, or there are already breaks on the skin, like wounds or scratches.

Although viral skin lesions tend to be self-limiting, some can carry on for several years. And it can even spread to surround areas or other parts of the body.

To remove warts, the fastest and least painful way is to freeze it off with liquid nitrogen.  Other ways to remove warts are through lasers or cautery.  Some solutions containing salicylic acid can work by caustically irritating the skin and peeling off the wart.  It usually works for very small, superficial warts.

Dear Dr. Jen,

My armpits are very dark.  I am only 22 years old and I don’t know what caused them to become so brown.  I am afraid to try strong peels because I have heard that they can worsen the darkening.  What do you recommend to whiten the area?


Dear Janice,

Darkening of the underarms seem to be the bane of most Filipino women.  For one, our skin tends to darken easily after any form of inflammation or injury.  This includes some simple injury from waxing, wherein part of the top layer of the skin may be removed, hence removing the protection over the skin.  Applying very strong deodorants can cause irritation.  Sometimes you feel this as some stinging on the armpits after you apply deodorant.  That is already causing some inflammation on the skin.  Repeated injury, can lead to darkening.

The skin in the underarms is very thin, thus quite sensitive to strong agents.  Applying solid tawas crystals, lemon, calamansi, and fragranced whitening agents can lead to contact dermatitis, and later on, pigmentation problems.

Peels can be too strong and may even further thin out the skin.  Using lasers to lighten the area can be an option. A few sessions will get those kili-kili back to its original color. Using mild anti-perspirant whiteners is also another option.  This is a slow but sure way to lighten the underarms. You might think about investing in permanent laser hair removal to also lessen shaving or waxing.

Dr. Tan is a diplomate of Philippine Dermatological Society (PDS) and is affiliated with the Perpetual Succour Hospital (PSH). Information on PDS is at www.pds.org.ph. Questions or concerns regarding the skin may be sent by text to 0932 857 7070 or emailed to askskinrepublic@gmail.com; or coursed thru The Freeman – (032) 2531276, or thru PSH – (032) 2338620 and 2325929. Inquiries will be forwarded to Dr. Tan.

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