Warts (Common Warts)
Table of Contents
- Wart facts
- What are warts? What causes warts? Are warts contagious?
- What are the symptoms and signs of the different types of warts?
- What is the treatment for warts? Are there home remedies for warts?
- Is using over-the-counter wart treatments safe?
- Are wart treatments effective?
- What if wart removal treatments fail?
What is the treatment for warts? Are there home remedies for warts?
Common warts can be annoying to anyone. It is worth considering that, in normal people, half of all warts, on average, spontaneously go away within about 18 months. The information in this article is about the treatment of common warts. It does not apply to venereal or genital warts. Over-the-counter treatment for common skin warts has long been based upon the use of products containing salicylic acid to destroy the wart. Newer nonprescription wart treatments include carbon dioxide aerosols to freeze warts.
Salicylic acid preparations
These are available as drops, gels, pads, and plasters. They are designed for application to many types of warts, from tiny ones to larger ones. Salicylic acid is a keratolytic medication, which means it dissolves skin protein (keratin), which makes up most of the mass of the wart and the thick layer of dead skin that often surmounts it.
Nonprescription freezing methods
Aerosol wart treatments that are available over the counter use sprays that freeze warts at a temperature of minus 90 F (minus 57 C). This compares with the liquid nitrogen used by most dermatologists, which is considerably colder (minus 320 F or minus 196 C). The over-the-counter products do not work nearly as well as the colder agents applied by a doctor.
It has been reported that warts can be treated by covering them with duct (duck) tape or other nonporous tape, such as electrical tape. This treatment requires that the tape must be left in place all the time and removed only a few hours once per week. The tape must be replaced frequently. Many are of the opinion that this is no better than a placebo, based on published studies.