Wart and verruca treatment
There is a large range of wart treatments available. Several such as EndWarts® are available from pharmacies for use in the privacy of your own home. Others, usually for more severe cases, are carried out in hospitals or clinics. All are detailed below.
Treatments to remove warts at home
Salicylic acid is applied on a daily basis to peel off the upper layer of the wart tissue.1 If the treatment is successful, the wart should disappear within three months.
Trichloroacetic Acid (TCA)
TCA is a corrosive acid-based solution that, similarly to salicylic acid, peels away the upper layer of the tissue on the wart.1 As TCA is a stronger acid than salicylic acid, it requires more safety precautions while applying the solution.
Monochloroacetic Acid (MCAA)
MCAA is also a corrosive acid-based solution and works in a similar way as salicylic acid and TCA.1 MCAA is the strongest acid of the ones mentioned above and also needs higher safety precautions while applying the solution.
Formic acid is a biodegradable, organic compound that can be used to treat warts by its dehydrating effects.1 The solution only needs to be applied once a week, 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 study2 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 can also be used by diabetics and pregnant and nursing mothers. However, we recommend you consult a healthcare professional to discuss any new symptoms during pregnancy. Formic acid is the key ingredient in EndWarts® PEN and available from pharmacies. Formic acid in itself is corrosive and thus it has to be used with caution.1
See the EndWarts® section for more about EndWarts® PEN.
Cryotherapy or freeze treatment can be done at home using different gases to freeze off warts. EndWarts® FREEZE uses a colder gas than others (Nitrous Oxide) which rapidly freezes warts at -80C.
See the EndWarts® FREEZE section for more about EndWarts® FREEZE.
Treating warts in clinic
The following treatments can only be given in the clinic. They are often perceived as more painful, quite expensive and therefore usually resorted to only when long-standing warts cannot be removed by over the counter treatments.
Burning warts off
This is usually done in one of two ways:
- Laser surgery – this type of treatment is most commonly used for warts on the feet and is usually recommended only for long-standing large widespread and painful warts. During laser surgery, an intense beam of light is used to burn and destroy the wart tissue. There are various types of laser, with some quite painful and hence not suitable for children.
- Electrosurgery – with this treatment the wart tissue is burned with a high-frequency electric current.
This 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)
Although available for home use, MCAA is occasionally also used to treat children at clinics.
About warts and verrucas
How to avoid warts and verrucas
Wart and verruca FAQs
EndWarts® PEN is an effective wart treatment that takes only seconds to apply. The solution can be used by the whole family to remove warts and verrucas on hands and feet.Find out more
EndWarts® FREEZE is our latest alternative to EndWarts® PEN that uses rapid freeze technology (otherwise known as cryotherapy) to effectively remove warts and verrucas from hands and feet.Find out more
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.
Duct tape for wart removal
Although there have been some scientific studies on duct tape for wart removal, the outcomes have been mixed.3
Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is one of the more popular home remedies for warts and there are several ways to use it. One common method is to soak a cotton ball with apple cider vinegar, apply it to the wart and cover it with a band-aid. This is done twice a day until the wart falls off.4
Small pieces of a banana peel can be applied to the wart with the fleshy side down, and are then covered up with medical tape. The banana peel can be left on the wart overnight or around the clock, but needs to be changed daily.5
Freshly cut pieces of garlic can be rubbed into the wart, to coat it with garlic juice. The garlic pieces are then applied to the wart with the cut side down and covered with medical tape. Apply each night and remove in the morning; repeat for up to three weeks.6
Oil-rich plants and herbs
Lemon oil and tea tree oil are sometimes used as a home remedy for warts. Another herbal remedy is podophyllum, a plant extract that has toxic properties that is believed to kill the wart tissue. Podophyllum should not be used by women who are pregnant or nursing.7
- 1. Luciano, C.S. J Am Podiatr Assoc. 1977;67:858.
- 2. Bhat R, et al. International Journal of Dermatology 2001; 40: 415-419.
- 3. Focht III DR, Spicer C, Fairchok MP. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2002;156(10):971–974.
- 4. Johnston CS, Gaas CA. MedGenMed. 2006;8(2):61.
- 5. Kapadia SP, Pudakalkatti PS, Shivanaikar S. Contemp Clin Dent. 2015;6(4):496-9.
- 6. Gebreyohannes G, Gebreyohannes M. International Journal of Medicine and Medical Sciences. 2013;5(9):401-408
- 7. Millar B.C, Moore J.E. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2008;14(4):225-