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How to Remove Warts

Warts may be harmless, but they can also be painful and unattractive. Sometimes, warts disappear on their own, but because they are contagious, it’s wise to treat them right away so they don’t spread. Try at-home wart removal options or speak with a dermatologist about trying professional therapies.

At-Home Remedies for Warts
  1. Salicylic acid: This low-cost, over-the-counter wart removal treatment comes as a concentrated liquid, gel, or adhesive pad. For the best results, soak the wart for about 10 minutes to soften it and file away any dead skin before applying the salicylic acid. It may take several weeks of use for the wart to fall off.
  2. Apple cider vinegar or lemon juice: These mildly acidic substances burn off the wart and attack the underlying virus. Soak a cotton ball in two parts apple cider vinegar and one part water, or one-part lemon juice and one part water. Tape the cotton ball over the wart when you go to bed. Repeat nightly until the lesion is gone.
  3. Garlic extract: The antiviral properties of garlic make it a suitable at-home wart remover. Place crushed garlic on the wart and wrap with a bandage. Reapply daily, filing down the lesion with a pumice stone between applications.
  4. Duct tape: This method removes warts one layer at a time. Place a small piece of duct tape on the lesion, letting it work for three to six days. Then, remove the tape and file off dead skin with a pumice stone. Leave the skin exposed to the air for 12 hours, and then reapply the duct tape for another three to six days. Repeat until the wart is gone.
  5. Clear nail polish: Apply clear nail polish every other day for two weeks to gradually suffocate the wart.
  6. Liquid butane spray: Available over the counter, liquid butane spray freezes and kills warts. Be aware that this technique may be painful and isn’t as effective as professional freezing methods.
Professional Therapies for Warts
  • Cautery (burning): Electricity or pulsed-dye lasers can be used to cauterize the blood vessels leading to a wart, killing the tissue and causing the wart to fall off.
  • Cryotherapy (freezing): After numbing the area with a local anesthetic, the dermatologist injects or applies the liquid nitrogen to freeze off the wart. Follow-up sessions may be required for larger lesions.
  • Topical treatments: Cantharidin is a chemical substance that may be used if burning or freezing methods prove ineffective. Painted onto the wart and left for a few hours, it causes a blister to form beneath the lesion, allowing the doctor to remove it.
  • Injection drug therapy: Injecting antigens into the wart generates an immune reaction that improves the body’s virus-fighting abilities. Discomfort, swelling, and redness are the most common side effects.

Swinger-Woseth Dermatology offers professional, effective wart removal for our patients in Salt Lake City. To learn more about our services, or to schedule an appointment, please contact us online or call 801-266-8841.


Swinyer-Woseth Dermatology –

Salt Lake City, UT