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Skin Problems & Treatments Health Center

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.

Home treatment includes:

  • Salicylic acid, which is currently considered the most desirable wart treatment, based on its effectiveness and safety. The treatment takes 2 to 3 months. Salicylic acid formulas include Compound W and Occlusal. Ask your doctor about how to use salicylic acid.
  • 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.
  • Over-the-counter cryotherapy. There are home cryotherapy kits that you can buy without a prescription, such as Dr. Scholl's Freeze Away. These treatments may be safe for warts on the hands or feet but not for genital warts. Follow all instructions carefully.

If you are uncertain that a skin growth is a wart, or if you have diabetes, peripheral arterial disease, or other major illnesses that may affect your treatment, it is best to see a health professional.

Reducing plantar wart pain

You can reduce plantar wart pain by:

  • Wearing comfortable shoes and socks. Avoid high heels or shoes that increase pressure on your foot.
  • Padding the wart with doughnut-shaped felt or a moleskin 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 more comfortable.
  • Using nonprescription medicines, such as aspirin, ibuprofen (such as Advil), or acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) to help relieve pain. Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than 20, because of the risk of Reye syndrome, a serious but rare illness.

What to think about

Salicylic acid treatments are often effective. They aren't very painful, aren't very expensive, and usually don't cause scarring. Salicylic acid is a good treatment for children because it isn't very painful. For treatment to be successful, salicylic acid must be applied on a regular basis, usually for a number of months.

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.


WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 26, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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