Warts and Plantar Warts - Home Treatment
Home treatment is often the first
treatment used for
warts. When done properly, home treatment is usually
less painful than surgical treatment.
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
- 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
peripheral arterial disease, 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
genital warts. For more information, see the topic
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 wart
in water to help loosen and soften skin. This helps the medicine penetrate the
skin more easily.
- Apply salicylic acid to the wart when you go to
bed. Cover the area with a bandage or sock and wash off the medicine in the
- Avoid getting salicylic acid on your unaffected skin.
Salicylic acid should touch only the wart.
- With repeated
application, salicylic acid causes the wart tissue to become soft so that it
can be rubbed off easily.
- Remove dead tissue daily or once or twice
a week with careful use of a file or pumice stone or as instructed on the
medicine package. Dead tissue contains living wart virus, so dispose of the
dead skin carefully. The pumice stone or file will also have living wart virus
on it. Don't use the file or pumice stone for any other purpose, or you may
spread the virus.
- If treatment causes the area to become too
tender, stop using the medicine for 2 to 3 days.