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Wart Worry? How to Get Rid of Them

Wart Worry? How to Get Rid of Them

In the children’s book The Witch with a Wart, an old hag discovers she has a wart on her nose (of course!). Eager to have it disappear, she brews up a magic potion, but gets the ingredients wrong -- tripling her proboscis’ problems. If she’d just known about duct tape! (More on that below.)

Warts, caused by a human papilloma virus (different from the strain that causes genital warts or triggers cervical cancer), come in four varieties: The common wart appears mostly around fingers and hands on kids (and goes away by itself); the plantar wart is on the bottom of your feet; the flat wart, which kids get on the face, men on the beard area, women on their legs; and the fast-growing filiform wart that usually appears on the face. Warts can spread from one body part to another or from person to person. So don’t pick or scratch a wart or touch someone else’s. 

At-home remedies: Soak the wart in warm water, then sand it down with an emery board (wear a mask, gloves, then throw the board, gloves and mask away when done). Next, apply an OTC treatment with salicylic acid or, advises the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), cover the wart with duct tape! Change it daily for 5-6 days until the wart is gone. And check out the AAD’s YouTube channel for the video “Home Treatment for Warts.”

Nothing working? See your dermatologist for treatment options that include cryotherapy (freezing), excision, lasers, chemical peels and even immunotherapy. 

Medically reviewed in June 2019.

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