Home treatment is often the first treatment used for warts. When done properly, home treatment is usually less painful than surgical treatment.
Home treatment includes:
- Salicylic acid, which is currently considered the most desirable wart treatment, based on its effectiveness and safety. It is as effective as or more effective than other treatment, with minimal risk and pain.1 The treatment takes 2 to 3 months. Salicylic acid formulas include Compound W and Occlusal.
- Tape occlusion (duct tape), in which you use duct tape to cover the wart for a period of time. This treatment takes 1 to 2 months.
- Nonprescription cryotherapy. Although cryotherapy can be performed in your doctor's office, a type of this treatment for common warts on the hands and feet can be done at home. You spray a combination of two chemicals into a foam applicator and then hold the applicator to the wart for a few seconds. This treatment should not be used for children younger than 4 or by pregnant or breast-feeding women.
If you are uncertain that a skin growth is a wart, or if you have , , or other major illnesses that may affect your treatment, it is best to see a health professional.
Do not use home treatment methods to remove . For more information, see the topic Genital Warts.
Using salicylic acid
Salicylic acid is available as a paint, cream, plaster, tape, or patch that you put on the wart. Be sure to read and follow the specific instructions that are supplied with the medicine, or follow your doctor's instructions. Salicylic acid may take weeks to months to cure a wart.
For best results:
- Before applying salicylic acid, soak the wartin water to help loosen and soften skin. This helps the medicine penetrate theskin more easily.
- Apply salicylic acid to the wart when you go tobed. Cover the area with a bandage or sock and wash off the medicine in themorning.
- Avoid getting salicylic acid on your unaffected skin.Salicylic acid should touch only the wart.
- With repeatedapplication, salicylic acid causes the wart tissue to become soft so that itcan be rubbed off easily.
- Remove dead tissue daily or once or twicea week with careful use of a file or pumice stone or as instructed on themedicine package. Dead tissue contains living wart virus, so dispose of thedead skin carefully. The pumice stone or file will also have living wart viruson it. Don't use the file or pumice stone for any other purpose, or you mayspread the virus.
- If treatment causes the area to become tootender, stop using the medicine for 2 to 3 days.
Reducing plantar wart pain
You can reduce plantar wart pain by:
- Wearing comfortable shoes and socks. Avoidhigh heels or shoes that increase pressure on your foot.
- Paddingthe wart with doughnut-shaped felt or a patch that can be purchased at drugstores.Place the pad around the plantar wart so that it relieves pressure on the wart.Also, consider placing pads or cushions in your shoes to make walking morecomfortable.
- Using nonprescription medicines, such as aspirin,ibuprofen (such as Advil), or acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) to help relievepain. Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than 20because of the risk of.
What to Think About
Most warts do not need to be treated. They generally go away on their own within months or years. This may be because, with time, your is able to destroy the that causes warts.
Nonprescription salicylic acid is as effective as or more effective than other treatment, with minimal risk and pain.1
- A review of research suggests that salicylicacid is a safe treatment that effectively eliminates warts up to 75% of thetime. By comparison, or no treatment produced an approximateclearance rate of 50%.2
- There is currentlyno proof that cryotherapy is any more effective than salicylic acid.1
Folk remedies, such as rubbing a wart with a bean, may have an effect on a wart. But such treatment may simply coincide with the natural disappearance of a wart.
Never cut or burn off a wart yourself.