What’s the Best Treatment for Common Warts?

Talor Bianchini
Talor Bianchini23 Aug 2022
Reviewed and Fact Checked ✔️

Common warts are caused by excessive skin cell growth due to infection with human papillomavirus (HPV). Most common warts will go away on their own without any treatment in about a year or two, but others may grow nearby. There are lots of treatments for removing common warts, and some can even be done at home. Overall, the best treatment is salicylic acid.

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Best Treatments for Common Warts 

When trying to get rid of your warts, you want to find a highly effective treatment, causes minimal scarring, and is relatively inexpensive in most cases. There are different treatments recommended depending on the type of wart. Common warts usually have a raised surface and can be light-colored to a gray-brown. These typically appear on the hands but can be in other locations as well. 

Some of the best treatments for common warts include:

  • Salicylic Acid
  • Cryotherapy
  • Duct Tape Therapy
  • Laser Treatment
  • Electrosurgery & Curettage

Salicylic Acid: Best Overall 

This should usually be your first choice when starting treatment for your warts. The solution is applied to the wart several times a day for several weeks. A thin layer will form over the wart, which is removed before adding the next layer. Sometimes, even the top layer of the wart can be carefully removed. Compared to a placebo treatment, salicylic acid is more effective and removes common warts within 12 weeks in about 70% of cases

In addition to being highly effective, salicylic acid can also be purchased over the counter without a prescription. No doctor's visit is required to utilize this treatment, which comes in creams, gels, liquids, and patches. There are also varying concentrations that can be used, but higher percentages should only be used on thicker skin. Salicylic acid use also comes with minimal side effects and scarring. Only in rare cases does it cause skin irritation and pain. 

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Talor Bianchini

Talor graduated from Penn State University with a B.S. in Biobehavioral Health, and minors in Spanish and Diversity & Inclusion in May of 2022. She has a passion for health equity and diversity in health. In the future, Talor hopes to work in public health policy reform to help eliminate health disparities. She enjoys reading, cooking, and listening to podcasts in her free time.

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