How do doctors treat warts?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

Since there are as many types of warts as shoes in your daughter’s closet, treatment depends on the type you have. Doctors typically treat common warts by applying strong salicylic acid preparations. Doctors can also treat warts with cryotherapy. Cryo is the Greek word for cold, so in this technique, docs use liquid nitrogen (the stuff you see fancy molecular gastronomist chefs using these days) to freeze the warts off. Docs can also burn them off with electrosurgery. Don’t worry, the treatments are not extremely painful and they only take a few minutes. Treatments are repeated every couple of weeks as needed.


Kids are lucky. Sometimes when they get a wart, it clears up on its own. No freezing or burning necessary. And Mehmet’s kids get the suffocate-it treatment with duct tape.

Continue Learning about Warts


Where warts grow determines the best course of treatment. The human papillomavirus, or HPV, causes warts, which frequently appear on the hands. They can be embarrassing on the face and itch or hurt if they grow on the soles of the ...

feet or appear in or around the genitals. Doctors do not recommend over-the-counter wart-removal medications for warts on the face or for genital warts. Some warts require stronger prescription medication or a surgical technique that includes freezing, burning or laser treatment.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.