You probably have this item in your “junk drawer” in the kitchen.
OK, you just froze off a wart a month ago, but another one has already appeared on your finger. What’s the deal?!
The good news is that warts are benign—meaning not cancerous—according to the American Academy of Dermatology. The bad news is that warts are contagious, and you can spread the wart-causing virus (the human papillomavirus, or HPV) to others.
That means removing warts isn’t just a cosmetic thing: It can help reduce the spread of HPV. Although derms can help if you have warts that are tough to remove, there are plenty of ways you can remove the warts at home using over-the-counter treatments.
You’ve probably tried salicylic acid gel or pads, or using a cold spray treatment. Both of these can be very effective, but they don’t work for everyone (or every wart). This has led some people to look for other “hacks” to get rid of warts at home.
A Home Remedy for Warts That Actually Works
Of all the different ideas people have tried, there’s just one home remedy that derms actually give the OK to: Duct tape.
Studies conflict on how effective it is, and researchers still don’t know exactly why it works. In a study from the Netherlands, the use of duct tape removed warts more effectively than a placebo in a six-week trial with 103 children. Similarly, a study from the Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati, OH, found that duct tape actually worked more effectively than cryotherapy (i.e. freezing). Among the duct tape group, 85 percent of participants saw complete removal of the wart, while 60 percent of the cryotherapy group had total wart removal.
While duct tape isn’t guaranteed to remove the wart (no method is), it might be a good option if freezing or salicylic acid isn’t yielding results. Bonus: Using duct tape is also wayyy cheaper.
To try the duct tape method, stick a piece of duct tape over the wart. Every few days, change it with a fresh piece of tape. Over time, this will peel away the layers of the wart and eventually help get rid of it altogether.
A word of caution: Using duct tape can result in skin irritation. If you are noticing bleeding, eczema, or other skin damage from the duct tape, discontinue use.
About warts. Jacksonville, FL: Nemours Foundation. (Accessed on September 13, 2018 at https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/wart.html.)
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de Haen M, Spigt MG, van Uden CJ, van Neer P, Feron FJ, Knottnerus A. Efficacy of duct tape vs placebo in the treatment of verruca vulgaris (warts) in primary school children. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2006 Nov;160(11):1121-5.
Gocht DR 3rd, Spicer C, Fairchok MP. The efficacy of duct tape vs cryotherapy in the treatment of verruca vulgaris (the common wart). Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2002 Oct;156(10):971-4.
How to get rid of warts. Schaumburg, IL: American Academy of Dermatology. (Accessed on September 13, 2018 at https://www.aad.org/public/kids/skin/warts/how-to-get-rid-of-warts.)
Warts. Schaumburg, IL: American Academy of Dermatology. (Accessed on September 13, 2018 at https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/contagious-skin-diseases/warts.)
Warts. Washington, DC: MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine. (Accessed on September 13, 2018 at https://medlineplus.gov/warts.html.)