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How to Rid Yourself of Warts, Blisters, Hang Nails (and More) Faster

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Cuts, scrapes, and burns happen, but they don’t have to mar your canvas. Here, experts on dermatology and wound healing offer their tips on healing your ugliest injuries quickly. 

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Bruises

Hit the freezer, stat. Bruises form when blood flows out of busted vessels. So icing a developing bruise quickly narrows those vessels and prevents blood from escaping. Net result: a smaller black-and-blue area right off the bat, says Anne Marie Tremaine, M.D., of Laser Skin Care Center Dermatology Associates in Long Beach, Calif. 

Then rub on a bruise cream. Formulas containing 5 percent vitamin K or 20 percent of the mountain herb arnica caused the ugly spots to vanish more quickly than plain petroleum did, a recent British Journal of Dermatology study found. That may be because they stimulated the immune responses that break down cellular debris, speeding the rate at which the escaped blood reabsorbs. Try Dixie Health Dermal-K Vitamin K Clarifying Cream.

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Cuts and Scrapes

Don’t “let it breathe”—hard scabs that form in open air interfere with optimal healing, says Joshua Zeichner, M.D., assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. 

Instead, create a moist, bacteria-free environment by covering the wound in petroleum jelly and a bandage. (You might want to skip the antibacterial ointments—they can trigger an allergic reaction that adds redness, swelling, and itching, Dr. Tremaine points out). 

Once you’ve healed, protect the area from sunlight for at least 2 weeks: Your recently-damaged skin is prone to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, a shakeup of dark-colored cells called melanocytes that prompts the area to tan more quickly than the surrounding tissue. That’ll leave your skin tone uneven.

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Minor Burns

Then forget everything else you ever heard about burns. Icing the injury is a no -go, because the dramatic temperature shift can cause added damage, Dr. Tremaine says. Same goes for butter—it can actually trap in heat and increase infection risk.

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Reach for aloe vera gel instead, Dr. Agarwal recommends, and apply twice daily. Not only does the extract from this succulent plant cool and soothe, but a recent Japanese study suggests molecules within it called sterols stimulate the growth of collagen and other key compounds in skin cells. 

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Blisters

If blisters bust on their own, don’t snip or tear away the remaining skin flap. Smooth it down, then treat the area like a cut or scrape: Wash with soap and water, cover with petroleum jelly, and top with a clean bandage. Then do your best to steer clear of the activity or pair of shoes that caused them until the area heals.

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Poison Ivy

Don’t attempt to vanquish the resulting blistering rash with harsh home remedies like bleach. You’ll only cause added damage to your skin, he warns. Instead, the best course of action is actually scratch prevention—popping the blisters slows healing and increases your risk of infection. 

Scratching an Itch Makes It Worse

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Warts

Even then, expect the process to take months. For faster results, book an appointment with a dermatologist. Office treatments such as freezing and injections can dispatch most growths a bit more quickly, Dr. Tremaine says.

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Hangnails

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