February 10th, 2008
Chances are, if you've ever touched a frog, you've had a wart or two. Kidding! (Gotcha, didn't I?) But really, warts are common viral and dermatological problem, caused by the human papilloma virus. This means that warts are contagious, easily passed from person to person, and one initial wart can cause the growth of more warts. Because of this (just like any other contagious infection), hygiene is one of the biggest factors in getting rid of your warts quickly and relatively painlessly, as well as preventing spread of warts to other parts of your body or other people.
No conclusive research has been done on the what causes warts to grow and diappear as they do, or on how to get rid of warts once and for all. This means that the best thing you can do to get rid of warts is try the tried-and-true do-it-yourself wart solutions offered here, and seek professional wart removal if those techniques don't work.
Getting Rid of Warts
Treat your warts with salicylic acid, which acts as an irritant to eat away at the build-up of the wart. Castor oil, a paste made from crushed vitamin C tablets and water, or a moist aspirin tablet (held in place with a band-aid) are all possible treatments. Be sure to isolate the treatment on the wart, to avoid further skin irritation.
Cover warts with a few layers of adhesive tape and keep them covered for up to six days at a time, for as long as a month. Applying the tape after salicylic acid, moistening the wart before application, and filing the wart with an emery board between "tapings" can enhance the removal of dead skin from the wart. Duct tape, scotch tape, masking tape are all viable choices.
Soak warts in hot water to soften the skin and possibily kill the papilloma virus. Using very hot water, as hot as you can get without burning yourself, soak the wart directly for as long as possible. The water will soften the wart, which can then be worn down further by filing with an emery board. Remember to be gentle on your skin prevent excess irritation and even bleeding.
Keep warts covered, clean, and as dry as possible to limit the spread of the papilloma virus and get rid of warts faster. Wash your warts several times a day with hot soapy water and dry them thoroughly afterwards. Use a bandaid or adhesive tape (above) to keep the your warts covered. Wash your hands before and after touching any one else. Change your socks to reduce sweat build-up on plantar warts.
Consider FDA-approved OTC options for wart removal. Most otc wart treatments use varying levels of salicylic acid -- ranging from 17 to 60 percent -- to remove warts. Look carefully at the active ingredients of any otc wart remover and follow the directions carefully. Stronger treatments should not be used on children.
Medical Wart Removal
If at-home remedies aren't working to remove your warts, consider visiting a dermatologist to discuss medical options for wart treatment and removal. Common medical wart removal procedures include "freezing" (using liquid nitrogen to freeze warts off the skin), removal by laser surgery, and traditional surgical removal.