Warts can be an annoying and recurring skin problem. There are many medical and even natural ways to deal with these contagious growths. Warts are a viral infection of the human papillomavirus, which is also known as HPV. Although it is a contagious condition, most wart growths are benign. They are transmitted from their source through breaks in the skin. It can take any amount of time from months to years for them to disappear on their own, without outside intervention or treatments, but they can also recur at any time in a number of locations throughout the body. The most common locations for these growths are on the hands and feet, but they can appear in other areas of the body. The growth might be described as what looks like a “solid blister” or “cauliflower”.
There are several types of this viral infection, and each type is classified by the strain of the virus and the area of the body that is impacted. Verruca vulgaris is also referred to as the “common wart”. Flat warts can be found on places like the hands, wrists, knees, face, and neck. The eyelids and lips can be marred by the filiform/digitate wart. The hands and soles of the feet may have the mosaic wart. Periungual warts affect the nails. Plantar warts are painful, and they are specifically found on and around the soles of the feet. Genital warts are a sexually transmitted form of wart that can be associated with certain cancers, such as cervical cancer. HPV is known to have about 130 different varieties of the virus.1
There is no permanent cure for warts, but there are many remedies to deal with the outbreaks. This means that, while the virus is still present in the body, its noticeable growth development may be managed with remedies that the patient could even try at home. Gardasil is a recent vaccine approved for the prevention of genital warts and cervical cancer. Common topical therapies include salicylic acid, Imiquimod cream, and cantharidin, a chemical which is derived from beetles. Other options are freezing (cryotherapy) and laser treatments, with the latter also causing the side effect of scarring.
One low-tech remedy that has been studied is something which is known as “duct tape occlusion therapy”. With this method of treatment, the patient places duct tape over the wart for a long period of time.2 This method is supposed to work because the duct tape irritates the area of skin around the wart, triggering an immune system response to react to the area, including the wart. Reduction in the size of the wart should be noticeable within a few weeks, and the duct tape treatment method could also be paired with other remedies.
The duct tape should not be applied where the warts have developed on more sensitive areas of skin, like the face, the back of the hands or feet, or the genitals. The skin is thinner and more likely to become seriously irritated or tear in the aforementioned places, and the tape will end up doing more harm than good in these particular cases.3 Unfortunately, none of the medical treatments are truly guaranteed to work, and none prevent the eventual growth recurrence.
Natural Options for Warts
There are many folk remedies, at-home treatments, and homeopathic or natural ways to cope with warts. First, it important to make sure that the skin problem is identified as a wart. The contagious growths generally have tiny capillary dots on them, and they do not have skin lines running through them. If there might be evidence of another condition, the patient might choose to consult a doctor to find out what the growth actually is. The most common solution for this viral infection is to just wait for the wart to naturally diminish on its own.
The growths are more common in children, but they also do not last as long as they do in adults. The warts are contagious, so they should not be picked at. It is believed by some that the “power of suggestion” works, such as wishing the skin infection away, hypnosis, or using a placebo on a child. Keeping the area dry and avoiding going barefoot can help to prevent foot warts from developing. Condoms can help prevent the spread of genital warts. There are even some herbal and vitamin options, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and zinc. Some kitchen remedies include baking powder, baking soda, garlic, castor oil, carrots, figs, lemon juice, pineapple juice, and eating immune-strengthening foods. Some people might find success with the application of aloe.4
One vegan and cruelty-free natural option is a product called Wart Wonder. This liquid is applied to a bandage and the wart is covered three times a day. It takes time, though not as much time as it might to disappear when left untreated, and it can be extremely successful. There is no scarring from Wart Wonder.5
Learn more about other skin problems.