How can I remove warts?

Warts on the hand.

Warts are small, hard, rounded skin growths that are mostly caused by a virus. The preferred way to remove warts is to visit a dermatologist for professional treatments, but many people cannot afford this level of treatment. There are several different methods to remove warts yourself, but be aware that proper removal can take several years and warts can return at any time. If the warts aren’t particularly painful or disfiguring, leaving them alone may be the safest course of action for some.

There are medicines that remove warts.

Since warts are caused by a virus, there is no way many over-the-counter topical medications can safely remove them. Hydrogen peroxide, mecurochrome, Bactin, alcohol, or hydrocortisone may make the area around the warts less itchy or inflamed, but none of these products will remove the warts. The best over-the-counter drugs are marketed specifically for this purpose. A common active ingredient is concentrated salicylic acid, applied in drops to the affected area. This medication removes warts gradually, with minimal damage to the skin. The main disadvantage is the treatment time – several applications of salicylic acid must be done over the course of days or even weeks.

Freezing chemicals can be applied to warts via an aerosol spray.

In recent years, a second over-the-counter treatment has become popular. Dermatologists often remove warts using cryogenics, which means the wart and the area around it are chemically frozen. After one or two treatments, the warts should simply disappear like dead skin tissue. Now consumers can remove their warts on their own with over-the-counter versions of the freezing agents.

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Liquid nitrogen is a remedy to remove warts.

To remove warts at home, the patient uses an aerosol can to deliver the freezing chemicals directly to the raised area. The chemicals cause the warts to freeze and eventually fall off. The main disadvantage of this method is the initial expense. An application can cost US$20 (USD) or more, depending on the brand and quality of ingredients.

Electric scalpels are used in electrocautery.

Many folk remedies have not proven effective, but a home method has shown promise in some informal trials. Apparently, patients who sanded off the layers of dead skin and covered exposed areas with duct tape showed significant improvement. The effect is gradual, taking a few weeks on average, but a bandage with duct tape seems to reduce the time it takes to remove warts naturally.

Duct tape can be used to remove warts.

If none of these over-the-counter medications seem to work, a consultation with a dermatologist may be necessary. Dermatologists remove warts by using prescribed acids, cryogenic freezing, cauterization – burning with heat – or lasers. By no means should anyone use potentially dangerous methods like razor blades, hot needles or commercial acids to remove their warts at home.

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