Warts are benign growths on the skin, caused by the human papillomavirus or HPV. They are typically found on hands and feet, but they can affect other parts of the body too, such as the face. Warts can be round, flat or filiform and they often group together into clusters. They are usually not painful, however, if they are found on the soles of the feet, they can cause discomfort due to constant pressure from walking.
Since warts are caused by a virus, they cannot be cured by taking a drug. Some people choose not to remove them at all, because they are not dangerous, but since they are not very appealing and disturb the appearance, most people want to get rid of them.
Fortunately, there are many ways to get rid of warts, wherever they are located. There are home remedies, over-the-counter solutions and procedures done at the doctor’s office.
Treatment for warts
The main goals of any treatment option for warts is to remove them so they do not leave scars and do not reoccur, which, unfortunately, is not always the case. The results of any treatment largely depend on the size and the location of the wart.
Main treatment options for warts include salicylic acid, cryotherapy, laser surgery, excision, duct tape and chemical products.
Salicylic acid is available in form of liquid, gel, plasters and pads. The acid eats away the affected tissue, destroying the wart. It is best to apply it after soaking the feet and rubbing the affected area with pumice stone or emery board. Salicylic acid can damage the healthy tissue as well, which is why it is important to apply it with precision. In most cases this treatment is effective after 12 or more weeks.
Cryotherapy uses liquid nitrogen to literally freeze the wart, so it falls off. When liquid nitrogen is applied, it leaves a blister that eventually turns into a scab and falls off. This takes seven to ten days. Sometimes more than one treatment is required, and these sessions can be painful. Cryotherapy is generally done in medical centers, but there are special kits available in drugstores for those who want to do it at home.
Warts can also be surgically excised, but this is usually painful and often leaves a scar.
Duct tape method is the most popular home treatment for warts, even though it is not certain how effective it really is. The basic principle behind this method is to apply the duct tape tightly over the wart, so the virus cannot get any oxygen. The tape should be applied for several days, removing it only once a day to change the tape and to rub the wart with pumice stone.