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How can I get Rid of Warts?

By Cindi Pearce
Updated May 17, 2024
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Warts are non-malignant skin tumors that are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV.) They can, and do, seem to appear mysteriously. They afflict many of us at one time or another. They're unattractive, can become tender and itchy as well as contagious and may spread if you scratch at at them.

There are various types of warts including the typical wart, Verruca vulgaris, which generally crops up on your hands and fingers. Plantar warts (Verucca pedis) tend to show up on the soles of your feet. Flat warts (Verruca plana) develop in areas where a person frequently shaves and there is the genital wart, which is sexually transmitted. The filiform wart generally grows around the mouth, eyes or nose.

There are several options when it comes to getting rid of these tumors: Your doctor may advise keratolysis. In this treatment, a blistering agent such as salicylic acid, will be applied to the lesion after which your physician will use a pumice stone, and blade, to remove the dead surface skin and cut away the tumor.

Another method is cryosurgery. With this method, liquid nitrogen will be directly applied to the area. This topical application establishes a blister between the wart and the outer layer of skin. The lesion is frozen and, in time, the skin around the lesion dies and falls off as will the wart.

Curettage, which means to cut, is another option. The wart is sliced and lifted out of the skin. A patient will be given a local anesthetic during this procedure. The dermatologist will remove the tumor by scraping and/or scooping it out.

Laser treatments burn off the lesion via laser beams. This is considered state-of-the-art treatment. Because no cutting is involved, this is a non-invasive approach.

Some physicians prefer to directly inject antigens into the tumor, which reportedly stimulate the body's immune system, resulting in the elimination of the virus.

A less orthodox treatment is the use of duct tape. Wrap the afflicted area with duct tape and, in time, the tape ostensibly smothers the warts and they fall off.

A homeopathic approach is to soak the area in cider vinegar and then cover it with a bandage. When the wart turns dark, stop applying the vinegar and let the area dry out. When that occurs, peel off the wart. Do not use this technique on the genitals.

Your dermatologist may recommend a topical solution, many of which are on the market, that can help eliminate these tumors.

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Discussion Comments
By mblack — On Aug 05, 2011

It's good to know that there are a lot of ways now on how to remove a wart.

By nanny3 — On Jul 30, 2011

@ oscar23 - Speaking of superstitious ways to get rid of warts, I’ve got a winner!

Why this should work, you’ve got me, but I know many who stand by it wholeheartedly.

Like you said about your mom, they aren’t crazy people with magic wands or whatever. These are upstanding people who happen to have some non-traditional methods passed down to them.

Okay, so you dig a hole on a night when there is a full moon. Then you take a potato, cut it open and rub it on your warts. After you’ve done this thoroughly, you bury the potato in the hole under the moonlight.

Leave it alone, and your warts will be gone by the next full moon.

I haven’t done this myself, but there are all kinds of people who swear by this method.

Personally, I’ll probably be heading to the doctor if I ever get a wart. But if I had such a hard time as some getting rid of the thing, you better believe I’d try digging a hole! What would it hurt, after all?

By oscar23 — On Jul 29, 2011

My mother can actually talk warts off of a person. Now, before you start thinking of us as some sort of gypsies with scarfs around our heads and big old hoop earrings dangling three inches from our lobes, think again.

My mom is a professional lady, a director of mental health services in our area. But she was raised a little superstitious and very religious. And this is how this was passed down to her.

A man, I think of her family but I’m not sure, passed down a verse from the Bible to recite quietly while she rubs the warts gently with her hands. This verse can only be told cross-gender, so I have no clue what it is.

Once this has been done, she instructs the person with the warts to quit thinking of them or fretting over them, and they will go away.

She’s had countless calls from people who need help and from people thanking her. She’s taken as many as fifty warts off of a child’s hand at one time.

By runner101 — On Jul 29, 2011

@snickerish - Actually freezing the wart can be a genital wart treatment! But that is probably because it actually is not a painful experience - I have read that you feel some spikes of cold pain and that's it.

Of course, this type of thing that should *only* be done by a medical professional.

Oh, and no matter who has the warts (a.k.a. male genital warts or female genital warts) do not use over the counter medicine for them as they were not meant for these types of warts.

I was lucky I had a small breakout of warts on my finger for about 2 years and they have not returned!

By snickerish — On Jul 28, 2011

I agree with the discussions here no matter the wart - plantar wart, hand wart, or other - they just seem to be a pain to get rid of.

I have heard of freezing warts off? Does this hurt? And surely you don't use this method for genitial warts?!

By MissMuffet — On Jul 27, 2011

@Windchime - OK, you need to relax a little. I completely understand your fears, and having personal towels is a good idea for all families. But your sister is probably feeling very sensitive right now, and you'll have to bear with her while she finishes her treatment.

Warts on the face cannot be passed on by sharing towels, toilet seats, bath water and so on. Foot warts and genital warts are a little different, as they can be transmitted through direct contact, (but again, not through sharing towels.)

By Windchime — On Jul 27, 2011

My sister has facial warts and I'm worried that I will catch them from her. I could really do with some advice on this topic.

My family think I'm being insensitive and paranoid to insist on having my own towel. It's not like I'm walking around waving it at her, I am discreet, I just want to protect myself.

By letshearit — On Jul 27, 2011

Has anyone tried the duct tape idea for getting rid of warts?

I have recently contracted a wart on my hand and really want to get rid of it but I am scared of visiting the doctor's office. Things like cryosurgery and curettage sound like they would be really painful and I hate the idea of going under the knife for something so small.

Besides duct tape, can anyone think of any other natural remedies that might kill of the wart so I can get my hand looking back to normal?

I have heard that everything from bananas to tea tree oil might work, but I am really not sure what to try first.

By Mae82 — On Jul 26, 2011

Contracting warts can be very embarrassing and getting rid of them can be tricky. I made the mistake of not wearing proper shoes at the swimming pool and ended up contracting plantar warts which were a pain to get rid of.

The first thing I suggest if you contract plantar warts is to head to the doctor. Your doctor can rule out anything else that may be causing the blister-like formations on your feet. After that the doctor will most likely book you for wart removal.

I had the cryosurgery which to be honest didn't hurt as much as I thought it would. I have learned to never skip shoes in public places though.

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