5 ways you could get rid of warts

October 5, 2015

No, you can't catch warts from a toad. But yes, there are treatment options available. Here are a few.

5 ways you could get rid of warts

1. Salicylic acid

  • The active ingredient in over-the-counter wart remedies and patches, salicylic acid, works by peeling off infected skin.
  • It causes mild irritation that may also help your immune system fight off viral invaders in the area.
  • In one review of 13 well-designed studies, salicylic acid cured 75 percent of warts.
  • Be patient. It may take weeks or months to banish a wart, by which time the wart may have actually healed itself.
  • Be sure to follow the directions.
  • For best results, soak your wart in warm water first. Rub away dead skin with an emery board and then apply the remedy.

2. Freeze it to death

  • You'll need to see a doctor about cryotherapy and liquid nitogen, the two freezing treatments available.
  • Liquid nitrogen destroys a wart by prompting a blister to form around it. After about a week, the whole thing sloughs off.
  • You may need multiple liquid nitrogen treatments to see results. In one study of 225 people, it took 12 treatments to get a "cure rate" of just 45 percent.
  • Other studies suggest that salicylic acid is just as effective as standard cryotherapy.
  • Freezing is painful and isn't recommended for kids.

3. Warts hate garlic

  • Compounds in garlic have been shown in lab studies to fight viruses and stop them from replicating inside infected cells.
  • In one placebo-controlled trial, garlic extract dabbed daily on warts "cured" them in three to four months.

4. Unlock the healing power of duct tape

  • In 2002, a headline-grabbing study found that duct tape knocked out more warts than cryotherapy.
  • Volunteers stuck duct tape  over their warts for six days. They then removed them, soaked the warts and scrubbed off the dead skin.
  • The warts were left uncovered overnight, then the cycle was repeated. After two months, warts were gone for 85 percent of the duct tape group, compared to 60 percent of the cryotherapy group.
  • A more recent study, however, found much less benefit from "duct tape therapy." It could be because the researchers used clear duct tape. The grey kind contains rubber, while the clear kind doesn't.

5. Have the surgery

Surgically removing warts, then burning the skin, has a 65 to 85 percent success rate. It's painful, causes scars and 30 percent of warts return anyway.

Warts and their treatments are notoriously difficult. These unsightly growths can appear and disappear at random, even if you go and see a doctor. So while these options may help, be sure to take them with a grain of salt.

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