Self-management

Lifestyle and home remedies

Many people have removed warts with these self-care tips:

  • Peeling medicine (salicylic acid). Nonprescription wart removal products are available as a patch or liquid. Usually, you're instructed to wash the site, soak it in warm water, and gently remove the top layer of softened skin with a pumice stone or emery board. Then after the skin has dried, you apply the solution or patch. Patches are usually changed every 24 to 48 hours. Liquid applications are generally used daily. You may need repeated applications on a regular basis over several weeks to months to see results.
  • Freezing medicine (cryotherapy). Nonprescription medicines that freeze the wart include Compound W Freeze Off and Dr. Scholl's Freeze Away. The Food and Drug Administration cautions that some wart removers are flammable and shouldn't be used around fire, flame, heat sources (such as curling irons) and lit cigarettes.
  • Duct tape. Using duct tape to remove warts is a harmless but unproven approach. To try it, cover the wart with silver duct tape, changing it every few days. Between applications, soak the wart and gently remove dead tissue with a pumice stone or emery board. Then leave the wart open to the air to dry for a few hours before covering it with tape again.

Prevention

To reduce your risk of plantar warts:

  • Avoid direct contact with warts. This includes your own warts. Wash your hands carefully after touching a wart.
  • Keep your feet clean and dry. Change your shoes and socks daily.
  • Avoid walking barefoot around swimming pools and locker rooms.
  • Don't pick at or scratch warts.
  • Don't use the same emery board, pumice stone or nail clipper on your warts as you use on your healthy skin and nails.
May 18, 2017
References
  1. Goldstein BG, et al. Cutaneous warts. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 2, 2017.
  2. Gibson LE (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March 14, 2017.
  3. Some wart removers are flammable. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm381429.htm?source=govdelivery&utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery. Accessed March 2, 2017.
  4. Landis MN, et al. Recalcitrant plantar warts treated with recombinant quadrivalent human papillomavirus vaccine. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2012;67:e73.
  5. Habif TP. Plantar warts. In: Clinical Dermatology: A Color Guide to Diagnosis and Therapy. 6th ed. Edinburgh, U.K.; New York, N.Y.: Elsevier; 2016. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed March 2, 2017.
  6. Kwok CS, et al. Topical treatments for cutaneous warts. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD001781.pub3/abstract. Accessed March 2, 2017.
  7. Warts. American Academy of Dermatology. http://www.aad.org/dermatology-a-to-z/diseases-and-treatments/u---w/warts. Accessed March 2, 2017.