Warts removal

Most warts and verrucas can be removed in the privacy of your own home, using over the counter wart treatments from your local pharmacy.

Wart removal can also be done by a podiatrist or in clinics or hospitals, but this is less common and is usually reserved for the most difficult cases of warts. Warts are contagious and can spread to other parts of your body, as well as other family members and people that you come in contact with. For this reason, it is important to treat warts as soon as they appear. It is also easier to eliminate young warts than those that are already established.

How to remove warts at home

  • Formic acid is a relatively new treatment for warts that has a dehydrating effect and only needs to be applied once a week. The solution is easy to use and can be applied to warts on your hands, feet, elbows and knees. It is absorbed directly into the wart and leaves no trace on the skin. In one study¹ on formic acid, nine out of ten people reported that their warts had disappeared at the end of the treatment period, which lasted 12 weeks. On average, only 4-5 treatments were needed. The formic acid in the wart treatment has a dehydrating effect. Formic acid in itself is corrosive and thus it has to be used with caution.
  • Cryotherapy, or freezing warts, can be done at home using different gases to freeze of the warts. Most of the freezing treatments contains a mixture of DMEP gas that freezes the wart at -57°C. But now there is a new alternative that challenge the DMEP gas; Nitrous Oxide, a much colder gas that freezes the wart at -80°C.
  • Salicylic acid is applied on a daily basis to peel off the upper layer of the wart tissue. If the treatment is successful the wart should disappear within three months. However, studies have shown fairly low success rates of 24 percent when using salicylic acid.
  • Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) is a corrosive acid-based solution that, similarly to salicylic acid, peels away the upper layer of the tissue on the wart. As TCA is a stronger acid than salicylic acid, it requires more safety precautions while applying the solution. Unlike formic acid solutions, it can be challenging to remove the whole wart with TCA, something that is necessary to avoid recurrence.
  • Monochloroacetic acid (MCAA) is also a corrosive acid-based solution and works in a similar way as salicylic acid TCA. MCAA is the strongest acid of the ones mentioned above and also need higher safety precautions while applying the solution.
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How to remove warts at a clinic

Removing warts at a clinic or hospital is fairly unusual, since these wart treatments often are perceived as more painful and can be quite expensive. Your doctor may recommend wart removal at a clinic if you have had a wart for several years, if you are in pain or if you have already tried several over the counter treatments without getting the desired effect.

  • Burning warts is usually done with electrosurgery or laser. When electrosurgery is used, the wart tissue is burned with a high frequency electric current. If laser wart removal is used, an intense beam of light is projected onto the wart's surface in order to burn the tissue.
  • Cryotherapy is when liquid nitrogen is applied to a wart, freezing it to around -190°C.
  • Surgery/curettage involves scraping or cutting a wart out of the skin with a scalpel or similar tool. Sometimes a second round of surgery is required to remove the wart.
  • Monochloroacetic acid (MCAA) is occasionally used to treat children at clinics.

Preventing warts

How do you get warts and what is the best way to prevent warts?


Wart removal with formic acid

Formic acid has been shown to eliminate over 9 in 10 warts, how does it work and who should use it?

Natural home remedies

There are many different natural home remedies for warts, although there is very little scientific research to back up claims that they are effective. Most home remedies involve applying something to the wart, most commonly duct tape, for a few days.

 

1 2001: Bhat, Ramesh M., Vidya, Kamath, Ganesh. Topical Formic Acid puncture technique for the treatment of common warts.

2 2010: Bruggink, MD, Jacobijn Gussekloo, MD PhD, [...], and Just A.H. Eekhof, MD PhD. Cryotherapy with liquid nitrogen versus topical salicylic acid application for cutaneous warts in primary care: randomized controlled trial randomized controlled trial.

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