Warts Removal

Warts are outward symptoms of the human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, and appear as localized growths on the skin. Although these unsightly growths can disappear on their own, it may take years. There are a number of effective wart removal treatments, which usually take at least a week and often several months. Their aim is to remove the growth without damaging the surrounding skin, leaving a scar, or returning the ward.


4 Ways to Remove Warts

Many over-the-counter treatments are available. Medicated plasters, creams, paints and gels are often sufficient treatment to eliminate the wart. Consult your doctor if you have doubts about the safety of a certain treatment.

1. Salicylic Acid

In ⅔ of patients studied, warts cleared up within 12 weeks of treatment using salicylic acid. If your skin becomes sore or you have burned it with the acid, discontinue use and seek your doctor’s or pharmacist’s advice.


  • Salicylic acid literally burns the wart away. For this reason, you have to be extremely careful with it because it will also destroy the surrounding healthy skin. Surrounding skin must be protected to avoid scarring.
  • Because of the danger, do not use salicylic acid treatment on facial warts.
  • People with poor circulation (diabetics or those suffering from peripheral vascular disease) should avoid using salicylic acid treatments because of increased risk of damage to the skin, tendons and nerves.


  • Use a rough surface (pumice stone or emery board) to slough off excess skin around the wart. Before scrubbing, soak the wart in water for approximately 5 minutes so the skin softens. Do not share the pumice stone or emery board with others.
  • Apply a layer of petroleum jelly or a corn plaster to the skin surrounding the wart and use very small dropperfuls of salicylic acid at a time so it doesn’t run.
  • Once the wart has softened, use your medication according to the instructions. In some cases this can be a lengthy process requiring 12 weeks or longer of daily application.

2. Cryotherapy

Cryotherapy is the use of liquid nitrogen sprayed onto the wart to freeze it and destroy the affected skin cells. The process takes 5-15 minutes and can be quite painful.


  • Because of the pain level, cryotherapy is not usually performed on children. It is, however, recommended for facial warts, since the risk of irritation is less than if you use salicylic acid, duct tape or other treatments.
  • Cryotherapy comes with a few possible side effects: darker skin (hyperpigmentation), lighter skin ((hypopigmentation), pain, blistering and if used on the fingertips or toes, abnormal changes in shape or structure of nails.
  • After the wart has been frozen, a blister will form. This is followed by a scab that remains in place for 7-10 days, to protect emerging new skin.


  • You can have cryotherapy performed by healthcare professionals, or you can perform it yourself at home.
  • The application can be either in the form of a spray, or applied using a special applicator or a stick with a cotton wool tip. You can purchase dimethyl-ether/propane sprays from the pharmacy for home use. Do not use this on the face.
  • Large warts may require several treatments a few days apart, before the wart is killed off.

3. Duct tape

Duct tape treatment involves sticking a piece of duct tape over the wart for approximately a week. This suffocates the area and destroys the wart. It is recommended that you see your health-care provider a month after starting duct tape treatment.


  • In order for duct tape to work in the treatment of warts, it must be used as directed. The duct tape should be cut 1/4 inch larger than the wart, for if the duct tape covers too much uninfected skin, irritation may develop.
  • Replace tape whenever it starts to peel off.
  • There is limited evidence to support the effectiveness of using duct tape to treat warts. However, side effects of this type of treatment are rare, although in some cases skin irritation may occur.


  • For this treatment to work, you have to be diligent about keeping the area covered for at least 6 days in a row.
  • After being covered for 6-7 days, remove the tape, soak the wart in water and use a rough surface (emery board or pumice stone) to remove rough areas. Let the wart dry out overnight uncovered, and apply a new piece of duct tape in the morning.
  • You may need to repeat the process over a period of up to 2 months to completely clear up a wart.

4. More Options

  • Apple cider vinegar is a home remedy you can use. First soak the wart in apple cider vinegar for about 20 minutes. Then, use a rough surface (emery board or pumice stone) to remove dead wart tissue. Apply petroleum jelly on the surrounding skin to protect it. Cover the wart with a vinegar-soaked cotton ball and use an adhesive bandage to snug it down. Repeat until the wart falls off.
  • Podophyllum, also known as American mandrake, devil’s apple and Himalayan mayapple, is an effective treatment for warts. Use an extract in the form of an ointment to cover the wart and kill the infected skin cells. Be aware that this treatment can cause irritation and pain, and should not be used by pregnant women or nursing mothers because of its toxicity.
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