Warts are generally small, rough, cauliflower-like growths, typically on hands and feet. Warts are common, and are caused by a viral infection, specifically by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Some scientists believe they are also caused by stress. They typically disappear after a few months but can last for years and can recur. A few Papilloma viruses are known to cause cancer. Certain types of warts such as genital warts, can be contagious.
How to Remove Warts
There are also several over-the-counter options. The most common ones involve salicylic acid. These products are readily available at most drugstores and supermarkets. There are typically two types of products: adhesive pads treated with salicylic acid, or a bottle of concentrated salicylic acid.
Removing warts with this method requires a strict regimen of cleaning the area, applying the salicylic acid, and removing the dead skin with a pumice stone or emery board. It may take up to 12 weeks to remove a stubborn wart.
Another over-the-counter product that can aid in wart removal is silver nitrate in the form of a Caustic Pencil, which is also available at drug stores. This method generally takes three to six daily treatments to be effective. The instructions must be followed to minimize staining of skin and clothing.
Over-the-counter cryosurgery kits are also available, however often costing 3 times as much as other over-the-counter products.
Like prescription treatments, over-the-counter treatments usually require multiple applications, and are only necessary if the warts are problematic. Additionally, these treatments are capable of destroying healthy skin as well as warts, so caution must be exercised by those attempting them without medical supervision.
Duct tape occlusion therapy involves placing a piece of duct tape (or medical tape) over the affected area for a week at a time. The procedure is otherwise identical to that of using salicylic acid adhesive pads. Studies revealed the duct tape method is 85% effective.
Other household remedies include the application of common household things, such as banana skin, vinegar, hot water and washing liquid, or unskinned potatoes, to the affected area. Accounts vary in regards to how long they must be applied in each session and how long they take to work.
Without controlled studies for most household remedies, it is difficult to know whether the warts disappear because the remedies work, or if they disappear due to the individual’s own immune system response to the virus.
The success of hypnosis in curing warts at least suggests that the condition may be cured by belief in a remedy, the placebo effect or other psychological means.
Some household remedies are potentially dangerous. These include attempts to cut or burn away the warts. Incense is sometimes used in Asian countries to burn warts. These methods are very painful, and can lead to infection and/or permanent scarring.
Disclaimer – The information presented here should not be interpreted as medical advice. If you or someone you know suffers from warts, please see professional medical advice for the latest treatment options.
Copyright © 2006, Heather Colman.