How to Get Rid of Warts
Learn how to get rid of warts, to avoid an expensive trip to the dermatologist or general practitioner, or to avoid walking around with embarrassing and bad looking warts. Warts pop up due to a virus called “human papilloma virus”, usually shortened to “HPV”.
HPV only infects the top layers of the skin, or your mucous membranes. There are over 130 known HPV types, though most don’t cause symptoms in people. Type 1, Type 2 and Type 3 cause common warts. Eleven or more HPV viruses cause genital warts, while a few other HPV types cause much more serious conditions. Let’s focus on the 30 to 40 HPV virus types which cause warts.
How to Remove Warts Fast
Warts are not easy to remove, and most home remedies take time or most likely, won’t work at all. If you really need to get rid of a wart fast, you should seek treatment from a doctor. That may not sound very fast, but getting advice from a doctor on the safest and fastest way to treat your wart could keep you from trying a series of other “home remedies” that may not work. Some home remedies tend to make the wart and the surrounding skin worse. Your dermatologist knows how to treat warts properly, and can even advise on some courses of treatment that may make the warts go away faster, such as treating the wart with a product containing salicylic acid. The dermatologist also has special tools to help you remove warts with haste — devices that “burn” off or “freeze” off the wart. So, talking to your doctor will certainly be the fastest way to get rid of warts.
How to Remove Warts at Home
When you can’t see a doctor (for any reason) there are plenty of home methods used for getting rid of warts. From old wive’s tales to more modern over the counter treatments, you may not have to see a dermatologist to take care of your wart.
1. Rub a banana peel on the wart every morning. This may sound like an old wive’s tale, but there are components of the banana peel that help to shrink the wart.
2. Burn the wart. Hold a match as close to the wart as you can without touching it. The “blistering” action of the heat mimics what the dermatologist would do anyway. Just be careful not to burn yourself.
3. Soak the wart in warm salty water. Soak the wart as long as you can stand. This method runs counter to traditional wart removal methods that suggest “scraping” or even cutting the wart. Soaking it in water will keep your skin healthy and help get rid of your wart.
How to Remove Warts Naturally
The best “natural” method for wart removal is similar to the “warm salty water” treatment found above, but may actually work better. It is all natural, and doesn’t require any painful scraping or dangerous cutting that can lead to infection. With the “sea salt” method, you want to soak the wart in warm and salty water for as long as you want. Then, with a band-aid and a few chunks of sea salt at the ready, dry the wart and press the sea salt carefully up against the wart. Secure them in place with a band-aid, and allow the salt to sit on the wart for about a day. Replace the salt and the band-aid once a day for two or three days. Your wart should disappear within two or three days.
The Best Method for Getting Rid of Warts
Dermatologists tell us that the least invasive chemical treatment for a wart is using a product called salicylic acid, a substance derived from willow bark that is basically identical to aspirin. In this case, salicylic acid treatment for warts is in a liquid form. Salicylic acid is the ingredient of just about every commercially available wart remover. Salicylic acid acts as a blistering agent. It aggravates the wart and eventually makes it go away. The most popular wart removal method is probably a medicine called Compound W or its main competition at the drug store, Ocusal. Follow the package instructions, or buy your own salicylic acid and apply it to the wart after soaking the skin in water for 5 minutes. If you do this every two to three days, you should be able to get rid of even the most stubborn warts.
Types of Warts
There are at least 7 distinct types of wart, though most fall into the common wart category. I’ll give the common location for these different warts, so you might quickly determine which type of wart you’re dealing with. If it’s a lone wart and it’s not on your feet, eye or genitalia, you probably have the common wart.
- Common Wart – Usually on the hand, but anywhere on body is possible.
- Plantar Wart – Pressure points of the feet. Often painful.
- Flat Wart – Often in large numbers on neck, face, knees, hands, and wrists.
- Genital Wart – On the genitalia.
- Periungual Wart – Cauliflower cluster warts around the nails.
- Mosaic Warts – Clusters of warts on hands or souls of feet.
- Filiform/Digitate Wart – On face near eyelids or lips.
Over-the-Counter Wart Remedies
There are two main methods of getting rid of warts with over-the-counter remedies. The first is to burn the wart off with salicylic acid, which is a weak acid (compared to other acids you know) that burns off skin little by little. The other is to freeze off the war with a mixture of propane and dimethyl ether.
The freezing process is quicker, but has the greater chance of you hurting yourself with skin burns. If you keep the frozen tip on your skin too long, you can damage your skin with serious freeze burns, so follow the instructions to the letter.
Salicylic acid usually takes days and even weeks to burn off the wart, so it’s harder to absentmindedly harm yourself with salicylic acid, though it is still possible. In fact, there are a number of warnings you should follow.
Salicylic Acid Warnings
You may know salicylic better under its better marketed name of “Compound W”. Follow the same instructions with any product including salicylic acid, as you would with Compound W. This includes keeping the acid away from your eyes, lips, nose, and mouth. You also must keep salicylic acid away from the genitals and anal areas. Do not use on sunburned skin, chapped skin, broken skin or open wounds.
If you have the following conditions, consult your doctor before using salicylic acid.
- Poor Circulation
- Liver Disease
- Kidney Disease
Also consult your doctor before treating a child with Compound W. Don’t use salicylic acid on moles or birthmarks, because the acid is not intended for either skin condition.
More Salicylic Acid Products
You are likely to find all kinds of products besides Compound W that contains salicylic topical acid. Here is just a small sampling.
- Dr. Scholl’s Clear Away Wart Removers
- Dr. Scholl’s Callus Removers
- Dr. Scholl’s Corn Removers
- Freezone Corn Remover
- Oxy Face Scrub
- Dermarest Psiorias Skin Treatment
- Wart-Off Treatment
- Propa P.H.
If you experience extreme skin irritation from salicylic acid, you may be allergic to the substance. Those who experience undue skin irritation should immediately stop using salicylic acid products. You’ll need to use the freeze off method, home remedies, or professional treatments.
Wart Removal Home Remedies
These are just some of the home remedy tips I’ve seen for wart removal. I haven’t tried each and every one of these, but I am passing the information along, in case you are desperate enough to try them yourself.
- Unripe Papaya
- Lemon Peel
- Banana Peel
- Vitamin C
- Aloe Vera
- Castor Oil
- Duct Tape
- Hot Water (plantar warts)
These work for a variety of different reasons. Papaya, for instance, works because it contains an enzyme known to break down dead skin tissues. The chemicals found in lemon peels and banana peels dissolve warts. The vitamin C in the lemon peel also probably helps fight wart viruses.
Along the same lines, Vitamin C helps to fight off the HPV virus which causes warts. When you use duct tape (5 to 7 days), file off the wart with an emery board after removing the duct tape, then add more duct tape. This supposedly causes your own immune system to fight off the virus.
Physician Wart Removal
Doctors have a number of wart removal methods, including cryosurgery, laser removal, electrical currents, surgical incisions, chemical treatments, and drug treatments. Some techniques can be painful, with wart removal causes scarring at times.
The most common wart removal treatments these days are the cryosurgery. This is a more effective (or practiced) treatments than the wart freeze-off cures you’ll buy over the counter. The doctor freezes off your wart, though this frequently causes scarring and sometimes requires multiple visits. Freeze removal can be painful, so ask your doctor for a topical painkiller, if you have a low tolerance for pain.
Electrocautery doesn’t get to the wart’s roots, while Cantharidin chemical treatments (chemicals taken from a “blister bug”) causes blistering after a few hours, and might require multiple visits. Miquimod is often used for genital warts, and less commonly for plantar warts and flat warts. This drug causes an immune system response to the infected area.
Once you get rid of a wart, remember that warts are caused by viruses, just like many sicknesses are. Don’t touch one infected part of your skin to an uninfected part. Don’t touch someone else’s warts. Wear shoes or sandals in a gyms or other community area, where someone with plantar warts might infect the floor. Don’t share towels, shoes, socks, or razors, since these can transmit the virus. If your skin is broken, be extra careful about avoiding all the situations already listed.
Obviously, avoid touching the genital warts of an infected person, or else you can be infected with genital warts. As you can imagine, this is a commonly transmitted form of wart, since people are not likely to notice genital warts at all, or not until it’s too late. If you have genital warts, take steps to avoid infecting other people.
When you have a wart on your hands, avoid picking at the wart. Also avoid biting your fingernails or cuticles, which because you can spread the virus from one hand to the next. When a wart is wet, dry it off, because warts are more contagious when wet. Cover warts with bandages, so you don’t transmit the virus.
When studying how to get rid of warts, remember that many warts go away after a few months, though some remain for years. Also, warts that have been removed sometimes return, if you don’t destroy the viral root. People can also remove their warts and be exposed to the same virus again, if the conditions that led to exposure in the first place are still there.
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