Getting a pimple is stressful enough, and you definitely don't want to add warts to your skin care woes. But in order to avoid them, you need to know what you're up against. Warts, by definition, are small, flesh-colored (white, beige, or brown) skin growths caused by the human papillomavirus, or HPV. There are 60 different HPV types, and they can affect the skin on any part of the body.

Since warts are a viral infection, they may disappear without treatment. In fact, more than half disappear one to two years after they appear, though some may take two to five years. Others may persist for a longer period.

While there is no definite way to prevent HPV infections, you may reduce your chances of getting warts by avoiding skin contact with someone who already has them. Here are a few tips to help you out:

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(First published as "What about Warts" in the "Health Check" section of Good Housekeeping Philippines' April 2001 issue. Adapted for use in Female Network. Photo by Kristie Wells via Flickr Creative Commons.)

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