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Wart Removal Options and Treatment

Wart Removal Options and Treatment

by Shankari Das · May 22, 2021

Common warts are relatively harmless; they can be unattractive and painful. Sometimes, they go away on their own, but this process can take months or even years. Here are quite a few wart removal options you should know about.

Because warts are contagious, you should start treating them immediately to prevent them from spreading. Try these professional therapies and home remedy options to remove your warts.


What Are Warts?

Warts are small growths on your skin that normally don’t cause pain. Some warts might itch and may hurt, especially if they’re on your feet. 

But lasers can do a better job of keeping warts from coming back.

Warts are most common on your feet, hands, and face.

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Warts are caused by viruses known as human papillomaviruses (HPV), and there are more than 100 different types of these viruses.  

There are five kinds of warts:

  • Common warts are often seen on your hands.
  • Flat warts usually appear on your face and forehead.
  • Plantar warts are found on the soles of your feet.
  • Genital warts (condyloma) appear on the genitals. Mostly appear in the pubic area and between the thighs.
  • Subungual and periungual warts are commonly found under or around your fingernails and toenails.

There are several different treatment options available today. They can help improve your chances of getting rid of warts faster, but they don’t always work. 

Warts present on the soles of your feet are particularly hard to treat because they are sometimes pushed inward. No treatments have been proven to work best for warts on the sole of your feet. Also, new warts may start forming after successful treatment in case some viruses or infected skin cells remain.

There are various treatments that can help warts go away faster.


Laser Treatment for Wart Removal

Laser treatment is an effective method of wart removal. The laser beams burn away the tiny blood vessels. The infected tissue eventually dies, and the common wart will fall off a few days after the treatment.

On the skin, laser treatment can help to get rid of fine lines, wrinkles, unwanted hair, freckles, and age spots.

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Laser treatment for wart removal involves the use of a beam of high-intensity light. Which works by destroying the wart very similar to skin tag removal. This treatment is very effective, but sometimes scars are formed on your skin.

According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology – the pulsed dye laser method is about 75% effective in removing common warts. Laser treatment is the only option of removing warts when other remedies and procedures do not work. Or in other words, warts that are difficult to treat are often treated with lasers. However, multiple treatments might be necessary.

Remember, only a doctor or certified dermatologist should deliver this laser treatment. It is suggested that surgical removal of the wart should be avoided as there is a residual wart that might remain. And the whole wart might grow back again.

1 Pulsed-Dye Laser for Wart Removal

This is the main type of laser procedure used to remove all kinds of warts. The light beam heats up the blood in the tiny vessels inside the wart, thereby destroying vessels. Without blood circulation, the wart dries and falls off. The laser’s heat is also helpful as it attacks the virus that causes the wart.

The laser treatment might feel like a rubber band snapping against your skin surface. You will not feel much pain after the procedure is completed. However, the recovery time is 2 to 4 weeks.

Laser treatment is a good option for hard-to-reach spots, like genital warts in your urethra. Depending on the number of warts you have and where their location, your doctor might give you medicine that will numb the area. Thereafter they will perform the procedure. 

Laser surgery could lead to a couple of downsides, like you might have scars in the area. When the laser zaps your skin, it sends tiny pieces of debris that might spread bacteria, viruses, or fungi.

2 Other Laser Treatments for Wart Removal

a) Carbon dioxide laser.
This light is considered to be as effective as a sharp knife. This is a good choice if your warts are around your fingernails or toenails. Meaning places where other treatments have not worked.
First, your doctor will use the laser to cut away and remove the top of the wart. Then they will make the light less focused and burn away the remaining area of the wart. The debris might cause more scarring than you would get from a pulsed dye laser.

b) Erbium: Yttrium/Aluminum/Garnet laser.
As the name suggests, this kind of laser can heat a smaller area with precision. As a result, it does not cause much scarring. Researchers think that the puffs of debris from this kind of laser spread the wart virus.

c) Neodymium: Yttrium/Aluminum/Garnet laser.
This laser goes deeper and targets the blood vessels in the wart. When treating children, doctors pass the beam of light through a fiber optic cable to zap papillomas. These are wart-like tumors in the throat or mouth. They are caused by the same virus as those of warts.


How Effective is Cryotherapy for Wart Removal

Freezing therapy or Cryotherapy is an effective method of wart removal. It is often performed by your doctor or dermatologist at the doctor’s office.

The therapy involves applying liquid nitrogen to your wart. Freezing works by forming a blister around your wart. Then, the dead tissue falls off within a week or so.

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Cryotherapy uses liquid nitrogen to freeze off the common wart. During the therapy, your doctor will freeze the wart off by applying liquid nitrogen to it. This substance is extremely cold as it has a low temperature and destroys the cells in the top layer of your skin.

There are different methods used to apply liquid nitrogen. Your doctor will dip a cotton swab in the liquid nitrogen and then hold it against the wart for several seconds. This needs to be repeated with a gap of at least one week between each session. 

In some cases, the nitrogen might also be sprayed onto your wart using a small nozzle. Cryotherapy is effective and can make warts on your hands go away more quickly. But according to study, Cryotherapy wasn’t found to be effective for the soles of your feet. The more effective option was to wait (no treatment) when treating warts on the feet. 

Researchers have found this method to be less effective than salicylic acid in some situations. Hence most dermatologists today will use both treatments in combination to maximize the effectiveness of removing the wart.

To get the best results from this therapy, you need to come back for repeat sessions every three weeks. Some of you might require several treatments with Cryotherapy to resolve the wart. Cryotherapy is often a painful procedure and, therefore, might not be suitable for young children.


Other Wart Removal Options

Studies indicate that more than half of warts go away on their own within one year. Also, two-thirds disappear within two years. 

So experts believe that ‘watchful waiting’ is definitely a good option for new warts. 

But some doctors recommend immediate treatment. This is basically to reduce the amount of virus spread to your nearby tissue and to possibly lower the risk of recurrence.

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1 Immunotherapy

If your warts do not respond to other treatments, immunotherapy can work by stimulating your immune system to fight against the HPV virus. These viruses are responsible for their development.

Antigen injections will generate an immune response to kill the tissue and remove your wart. This treatment might cause redness, swelling and discomfort.

2 Applying cantharidin

Your doctor might use cantharidin on your warts. During the treatment, your doctor will paint the chemical onto your wart. You will not feel any pain when the chemical is applied to your wart. You will only experience some pain and blistering of the wart after 3 to 8 hours. 

After treating your wart with cantharidin, your doctor will place a bandage over it. You can remove the bandage after a day or 24 hours. When you visit your doctor again, he will remove the dead skin of the wart. If the wart has not disappeared after one treatment, your doctor might suggest another treatment.


Wart Removal Home Remedies

Over-the-counter treatment for common skin warts is based upon the use of products containing salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is very effective in destroying the wart. 

Newer non-prescription wart treatments include carbon dioxide aerosols to freeze warts

Most kinds of warts can be removed by the commonly known home remedies.

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Common warts are very annoying as they can affect your daily routine if they appear in critical areas. It is interesting to know that in normal people, half of all warts go away within two years. The treatment discussed below is for common warts and does not apply to venereal or genital warts. 

Home remedies for common wart removal include:

1 Salicylic acid preparations

These are available as gels, drops, pads, and plasters. They are designed so that they can be applied to any kind of wart, from tiny ones to larger ones. 

Salicylic acid is a keratolytic medication, meaning it dissolves skin protein or keratin. This skin protein actually makes up most of the mass of your common wart and the thick layer of dead skin that surmounts it.

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2 Non prescription freezing methods

Aerosol wart treatments that are commonly available over the counter use sprays that freeze wart. They freeze the wart at a temperature of minus 57 deg C. This compares with the liquid nitrogen, which most dermatologists use as it is considerably colder, about minus 196 deg C. The over-the-counter products may not be as effective as the colder agents applied by your doctor.

3 Duct tape

You can treat warts by covering them with duct tape. You can also use other nonporous tapes like electrical tape for the purpose. 

The treatment requires that you should leave the tape on the wart all the time for few days. You should remove the tape only for a few hours once per week. But ensure that you replace the tape frequently. 

Living With Warts

Most of the time – warts on your skin can be treated successful and the warts are gone for good. But you need to follow a skin care routine to avoid spreading. Your body’s immune system is effective and can help to get rid of any tiny bits of wart that may be left after a wart has been treated. 

However, some types of warts are more likely to come back because there’s no cure for that virus that causes them. They also might come back because warts are extremely difficult to control in a moist environment. If warts come back, the best option is to see your doctor and discuss the treatment. 

Most of the wart removal treatments are effective and decrease your chances of spreading into other areas of your body.

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