5 Ways to Treat Warts

May 7th 2016

Warts are unsightly and unpleasant, but they are usually fairly easy to treat. Be patient, follow the instructions and consult your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.

Salicylic Acid

One of the most common methods of treatment is using salicylic acid to burn the warts away. This acid works by dissolving keratin, which makes up the wart and any dead skin surrounding it. You can buy salicylic acid over the counter in many forms, including patches and gels for easy application. Most methods are equally effective, although some smaller patches may not be suitable for large patches of warts. It may also take multiple reapplications.


Freezing is a common method of treatment in doctor's offices, but there are also home freezing kits you can use. This method is not recommended for children, because it can be painful. Home freezing kits, which usually come in the form of aerosol sprays, are not as effective as the liquid nitrogen used by doctors and may require multiple treatments.

Duct Tape

Duct tape is a commonly suggested remedy, but the scientific opinion on it is mixed. To use this treatment, simply cover the warts with duct tape and replace with fresh tape at least once a day. Leave the tape in place until the wart disappears. Some studies show this method is as effective as salicylic acid, though others show it is no more effective than a placebo. At the very least, it may help prevent the spread of HPV by preventing other people from coming into contact with the wart.


Warts generally go away on their own, but this can take months or years. For certain warts, it may not be a problem to just let them proceed naturally. However, the presence of warts does make you contagious, so this may be best for ones that appear on body parts usually hidden by clothing.

Medical Treatment

Your doctor has a variety of more reliable wart treatments available, including invasive methods such as surgery. It is a good idea to seek medical treatment if you get warts frequently or if they seem to be growing or spreading rapidly. Plantar warts are also good candidates for medical treatment since they are often painful. Many at-home treatments are not safe for people with diabetes or other diseases that limit circulation, so people with these conditions should consult their doctors. People with compromised immune systems should also seek medical help for warts.


Many people get warts at some point in their lives, especially as children. Although warts are generally harmless, they can be unsightly and embarrassing. Some, such as plantar warts on the bottom of the feet, may cause pain. Fortunately, treatment is usually easy and effective.

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