How to Get Rid of a Wart for Good: Northstar Dermatology: Dermatology (2023)

How to Get Rid of a Wart for Good: Northstar Dermatology: Dermatology (1)

Warts are generally harmless, but they can be annoying. They’re not aesthetically pleasing, can cause pain, and can easily spread to other parts of your body and even to other people.

Quite common, warts affect roughly 10% of the population, including as many as 20% of school-age kids. Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do about them.


At Northstar Dermatology in Fort Worth, Texas, our board-certified dermatologists provide professional wart treatment to get rid of them quickly and prevent their spread. Read on to learn more about warts, including ways we can do away with them for good.

Warts 101

Most anyone can develop a wart, but they’re especially common in people with a compromised immune system or who work with meat. Warts develop when your skin cells grow faster than normal after being infected with the human papillomavirus (HPV).

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Types of warts include:

  • Common warts, which are usually found on the hands
  • Flat warts, which may appear on the face, hands, or shins
  • Genital warts, which appear in the genital region
  • Plantar warts, which form on the soles of the feet

Flat warts are less common than other types, but they tend to appear in greater numbers. They’re also usually pinkish rather than gray or brown like common and plantar warts.

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Effective wart treatments

Home treatments and merely waiting until warts diminish on their own may work, but those measures don’t prevent the spread of warts. And it may take some time for warts to go away on their own.

About 50% of warts disappear on their own within one year and about 65%, within two years. Because some warts — particularly plantar warts — are painful, that year or two can feel quite long.

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At Northstar Dermatology, we offer numerous treatments that destroy or remove warts efficiently, including:

  • Bleomycin, an injectable medicine also used to treat cancer
  • Cantharidin, a topical chemical
  • Cryotherapy or cryosurgery to freeze the wart off
  • Electrosurgery, which uses electrical currents
  • Prescription medications, which you apply topically at home
  • Surgical excision, to cut a wart out

While one treatment may suffice, some warts require more than one treatment depending on the wart’s size and other factors.

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Because some cancers look like warts initially, you should seek medical guidance if you have a wart that has changed in color, shape, or size, even if you don’t find it otherwise bothersome. Warts that bleed or grow quickly should also be reviewed by a dermatologist.

To learn more about warts or get the care you need, call our Fort Worth, Texas, office or request an appointment through our website.

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How will a dermatologist remove a wart? ›

Curettage involves scraping off (curetting) the wart with a sharp knife or small, spoon-shaped tool. These two procedures often are used together. The dermatologist may remove the wart by scraping it off before or after electrosurgery. Excision: The doctor may cut out the wart (excision).

What removes warts quickly? ›

For common warts, look for a 17 percent salicylic acid solution. These products (Compound W, Dr. Scholl's Clear Away Wart Remover, others) are usually used daily, often for a few weeks. For best results, soak your wart in warm water for a few minutes before applying the product.

What are the hardest warts to get rid of? ›

Periungual or plantar warts are harder to cure than warts in other places. Warts can come back after treatment, even if they appear to go away.

How long does it take a dermatologist to remove a wart? ›

Wart removal surgery usually takes less than 1-2 weeks for the wart to blister and fall off after surgical removal.

Will skin grow back after wart removal? ›

First, the wart may not have been entirely removed with the original wart treatment option, and it may continue growing. Second, if an incision was made to remove the wart, the incision may become re-infected with HPV, thus causing the growth of a new wart.

How do dermatologists remove HPV warts? ›

Procedures: A dermatologist may perform one of these procedures during an office visit: Cryosurgery (freeze off the warts with liquid nitrogen) Excision (cut out the warts) Electrocautery (destroy the warts with an electric current)

What to do with a wart that won't go away? ›

Warts that don't respond to standard therapies may be treated with prescription drugs. The topical immunotherapy drug imiquimod (Aldara), a standard therapy for genital warts, can also be used to treat skin warts. Imiquimod is thought to work by causing an allergic response and irritation at the site of the wart.

How many years can a wart last? ›

Warts usually clear up without treatment. However, it can take up to 2 years for the virus to leave your system and the warts to disappear. The length of time it takes for a wart to disappear will vary from person to person. They tend to last longer in older children and adults.

Does removing a wart leave a hole? ›

Below the surface of the skin, the virus will infect the skin cells, leading to the creation of a wart at the surface. This is why when one removes or pulls a wart out, it typically leaves a large hole in the skin. They can be rather deep depending on how severe the skin infection is.

When a wart turns white is it dead? ›

The acid will turn the wart into dead skin (it will turn white).

How much does it cost to surgically remove a wart? ›

The average price of a surgical wart removal session can be between $200-$400.

What do warts hate? ›

Sandpaper and duct tape

Piliang. “If the tape falls off, you need to quickly replace it. The skin underneath will become wet, pale and wrinkled, and warts dislike that.

How do you dissolve warts naturally? ›

Apple cider vinegar

It's thought to work like salicylic acid, a common wart treatment that peels away infected skin, eventually removing the wart. Vinegar also has natural antimicrobial properties that may help fight HPV, but more studies are necessary. To try it, mix 2-parts apple cider vinegar and 1-part water.

What kills the wart virus? ›

Other medications: These include bleomycin, which is injected into a wart to kill a virus, and imiquimod (Aldara and Zyclara), an immunotherapy drug that stimulates your own immune system to fight off the wart virus. It comes in the form of a prescription cream.

Why am I suddenly getting lots of warts? ›

Blame common viruses that exist nearly everywhere. When skin warts appear, it can seem as if the harmless growths came out of nowhere. But common warts are actually an infection in the top layer of skin, caused by viruses in the human papillomavirus, or HPV, family.

How do I know when a wart is completely gone? ›

A plantar wart will appear to have gone away if the area feels smooth, there are visible lines of the skin crossing the treated area, there are no black dots, and the skin area may appear lighter.

Do warts have roots? ›

A common misconception is that plantar warts have seeds or roots that grow through the skin and can attach to the bone. The wart may appear to have a root or seeds, but these are in fact small clusters of the wart just beneath the top layer of the skin. The wart cannot live in any tissue except the skin.

What kills HPV on skin? ›

HPV is sensitive to some chemical disinfectants, including hypochlorites and formulas containing peracetic acid and silver. Additionally, automatic machines using sonicated hydrogen peroxide are especially effective against HPV-16 and HPV-18, two high-risk strains of HPV.

What is the best HPV wart removal? ›

  • Freezing with liquid nitrogen (cryotherapy). Freezing works by causing a blister to form around your wart. ...
  • Electrocautery. This procedure uses an electrical current to burn off warts. ...
  • Surgical excision. Your doctor might use special tools to cut off warts. ...
  • Laser treatments.
Jan 14, 2022

How do you get rid of HPV warts forever? ›

There's no cure for genital warts but it's possible for your body to clear the virus over time.

What does it mean if a wart won't go away? ›

Q: What should I do if a common wart won't go away? A: If a wart does not go away after treatment with prescription and/or home remedies, it is recommended that you see a doctor to rule out other conditions and ensure that the most appropriate treatment is being used.

Is it OK to leave warts untreated? ›

Warts are harmless. In most cases, they go away on their own within months or years. If warts spread or cause pain, or if you don't like the way they look, you may want to treat them. Treatments for warts don't always work.

Why does duct tape work on warts? ›

Unlike other treatments, duct tape doesn't seek to treat the underlying virus that causes the wart or to identify the “root” of the wart. Instead, covering a wart with duct tape prevents the virus from spreading further by stopping the wart from contacting other parts of your skin.

What is the longest you can have a wart? ›

Most warts will persist for one to two years if they are left untreated. Eventually, the body will recognize the virus and fight it off, causing the wart to disappear. While they remain, however, warts can spread very easily when people pick at them or when they are on the hands, feet or face.

Can you have a wart for 10 years? ›

Warts that are not genital are usually not serious and may disappear on their own in 2 to 3 years. Some warts last a lifetime.

Which wart remover works best? ›

Salicylic acid and freezing therapy (cryotherapy) are the best first-choice options for wart removal.

Why do warts stay on years? ›

If you have attempted to treat your warts, but they continue to come back, the treatment has failed to kill the virus. The wart was removed, but the virus is still present. Your immune system may not be strong enough to fight off the virus.

How long do you leave on a wart remover band aid? ›

Leave in place according to package directions. Remove and place a new patch/bandage as directed (usually every 8 to 48 hours depending on brand). Repeat this procedure for up to 2 weeks for corns and calluses and 12 weeks for warts.

What happens if you try to pull out a wart? ›

Cutting the wart off won't cure the core infection (so the wart is likely to grow back anyway), and if you do it improperly you can make the situation much worse and greatly increase your risk of a painful infection.

What's the black stuff in a wart? ›

Rough to the touch, common warts also often feature a pattern of tiny black dots, which are small, clotted blood vessels. Common warts are caused by a virus and are transmitted by touch.

How long does it take to get rid of a wart with Compound W? ›

Be patient as it takes up to 12 weeks to get rid of warts. One will need a bottle of wart medication like Occlusal-HP or Compound W, a roll of 1-inch surgical tape ('Micropore' or 'Blenderm' are good) and a pumice stone or emery board.

Can a dead wart still spread? ›

That skin is dead and so is the virus within it so it isn't contagious anymore. Unfortunately, even though the skin around the area of treatment may look normal, there is often virus still present in it. So to answer your question – yes, that area of the hand can still be contagious with HPV virus even after treatment.

Will wart fall off with Compound W? ›

This medication is used on the skin to treat common skin and foot (plantar) warts. Salicylic acid helps cause the wart to gradually peel off. This medication is also used to help remove corns and calluses.

Does insurance usually cover wart removal? ›

Warts are caused by the human papillomavirus, and can be contagious or cause irritation and pain; removal generally is covered by health insurance.

How painful is wart removal surgery? ›

Is wart excision painful? The procedure itself is painless because of the numbing medication, but the site will feel tender for a couple of weeks. You may need pain medications after your session.

Can a regular doctor remove a wart? ›

Warts can be identified by your primary care provider, but are most commonly treated by a dermatologist.

Does it hurt when a doctor removes a wart? ›

Your health care provider cuts away the wart or destroys it by using an electric needle (electrodesiccation and curettage). This method can be painful, so your health care provider will numb your skin first.

How painful is wart removal? ›

Most people don't feel any pain when the chemical is applied. However, you may experience some pain and blistering of the wart about 3 to 8 hours later. Follow your doctor's instructions for at-home care. When you return to your doctor for your follow-up visit, they will remove the dead skin of the wart.

How long does a wart removal procedure take? ›

The whole session takes about 15-30 minutes. The procedure will create a wound that may be cauterized or stitched up. Depending on your health condition, your dermatologist may advise you to get medical clearance or avoid some medications a few days before your appointment.

What is the main cause of warts? ›

What causes warts? Warts are caused by an infection with the human papilloma virus (HPV). The virus causes an excess amount of keratin, a hard protein, to develop in the top skin layer (epidermis). The extra keratin produces the rough, hard texture of a wart.

Does Compound W Freeze Off work on warts? ›

Warts are usually gone in two weeks after treatment with Compound W Freeze Off®. If a wart or part of it is still there two weeks after treatment, you may then safely treat it again. Do not treat each wart with Compound W Freeze Off® more than three times in total.

What not to do after warts removal? ›

As mentioned, it is common to experience irritation and soreness after a wart removal procedure. However, you should avoid touching and scratching the wounds. When you scratch the affected areas, you might cause the wounds to bleed, thus contaminating your hands.

Is wart removal covered by insurance? ›

Warts are caused by the human papillomavirus, and can be contagious or cause irritation and pain; removal generally is covered by health insurance.

How do you stop warts from coming back? ›

Nine precautions that can help prevent warts
  1. Avoid touching someone's wart. ...
  2. Make sure that everyone in your home has their own towels, washcloths, razors, nail clippers, socks, and other personal items. ...
  3. Clean and cover cuts and scrapes. ...
  4. Wash your hands often. ...
  5. Prevent dry, cracked skin.

How do you tell if the root of a wart is gone? ›

A plantar wart will appear to have gone away if the area feels smooth, there are visible lines of the skin crossing the treated area, there are no black dots, and the skin area may appear lighter.

What does it look like when a wart is dying? ›

A: When it is clearing up, or “dying”, a wart may shrink and start to disappear. This may happen on its own or with treatment.


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