The remedy for removing your wart may be lurking in your kitchen cabinet right now. Garlic, apple cider vinegar, salt, and duct tape have all shown promising results when it comes to wart removal.
The number of traditional medical treatments are few when it comes to common warts. All viral infections are difficult to combat, and the HPV strains responsible for warts are no exceptions. If over-the-counter remedies fail, the only resort is expensive and often painful procedures in a medical office. To make matters worse, even a wart that has been surgically removed may return in the future. Fortunately, if standard treatments have failed, there are many home remedies that can be turned to for relief.
Preparing for treatment
Simply making sure the skin is clean and dry will usually be enough to prepare a wart for treatment. Plantar warts, which are found on the soles of the feet, may require additional preparation. See notes below for this type of wart. Once the site of the wart has been prepared, treatment can begin with one of the following options.
Garlic is a powerful antimicrobial agent and has been shown in clinical studies to have a significant impact on various bacteria and viruses.
Some proponents of the garlic remedy suggest simply cutting a single clove in half and directly wiping it across the surface of the wart several times a day. For more extensive treatment, a thinner slice of the clove can be secured with a bandage or wrap and left in place for several hours. Another option involves mashing or otherwise pulping the garlic, then applying the resultant paste directly to the wart before covering and securing it.
Because garlic is acidic and contains a variety of strong sulphuric and other volatile compounds, no treatment should be continued for more than several hours at a time. Prolonged direct exposure to garlic in this way can, in extreme cases, lead to chemical burns or other skin damage.
If simply wiping a cut clove o the wart, repeat the procedure several times a day. If securing a clove slice or mash in place for several hours, carry out the procedure once a day. Noticeable improvement in the wart’s condition should become evident within several weeks of treatment.
Distilled or Apple Cider Vinegar
A treatment using vinegar serves two purposes. Because vinegar is acidic, it functions similarly to the salicylic acid found in over-the-counter treatments. Salicylic acid, also found in many acne washes, encourages exfoliation of the skin both by killing the skin cells and promoting the body’s mechanisms for casting the dead cells off. Additionally, because vinegar is a powerful antimicrobial agent, it can kill the virus directly.
To apply the vinegar, soak a small wad of cotton or other fabric directly in the liquid. After squeezing to remove most of the excess fluid, place the cotton or fabric directly onto the wart and secure it with a bandage, wrap, or tape that’s strong enough to stay in place.
Proponents of the vinegar remedy typically advise leaving the resulting treatment in place for several hours or overnight. Leaving it on any longer can result in skin damage, particularity for people with sensitive skin.
Repeat these steps at least once a day, as long as the skin shows no signs of further damage. Temporary irritation can be expected, but genuine pain is a sign that the skin may be too sensitive for the vinegar’s acidity, in which case treatment should be stopped.
Most proponents claim that the wart will be resolved within one or two weeks. However, if a wart is still present but has shown signs of improvement, treatment can be continued for even longer.
Treatment using salt depends entirely on salt’s properties as a powerful disinfectant and antimicrobial agent. Because salt is a dry solid, this treatment relies on extended, direct contact with the wart and surrounding area. The most convenient method of applying the salt requires mixing with a small amount of liquid or paste, then applying that mixture to the wart and securing it with a bandage, wrap, or strong tape. Petroleum jelly or mineral oils are often suggested for this purpose. As an alternative and combination treatment, add a large quantity of salt to a garlic mash as outlined above, and then use the resulting mixture for application to the wart.
If using petroleum jelly or some other non-irritating substance, leave the salt mixture in place for as close to 24 hours a day as possible. If using garlic, and due to the associated concerns noted above, follow similar precautions and never leave the mixture on for more than a few hours at a time.
Salt’s benefits as a wart treatment depend more on establishing an inhospitable environment for the virus than other remedies, and so may require treatment for four or more weeks before an improvement is seen.
The mechanisms for duct tape’s effectiveness as a wart treatment are poorly studied and understood. Some suggest that the tape’s ability to seal the skin’s surface, depriving it of air and moisture exchange, leads to an inhospitable environment for the HPV infection. Others suggest that some component in the adhesive itself is actively responsible for its use as a wart remedy. Though neither theory has yet been supported by science, simple effectiveness trials have demonstrated that duct tape does lead to improvement in a wart’s condition at a level above statistical chance or the placebo effect.
Applying the treatment is a simple matter of making sure that the area is clean and dry before completely covering the wart with a single strip of duct tape. Wear the tape for 24 hours a day, making sure to inspect the skin for any signs of redness or tearing when changing the tape. A white puffy appearance similar to skin that’s been under water or covered by a bandage for several days is to be expected.
Many proponents of home remedies combine duct tape with other treatments for a combination punch. For any remedy requiring a substance to be bandaged or taped to the wart for an extended time, simply use duct tape instead. If the substance is wet, it can be covered with a small piece of gauze or cotton to ensure that it doesn’t interfere with the adhesive.
It may be necessary to try several of these suggested remedies to find which one works for any particular wart. While studies give no overwhelming statistical advantage to any one alternative substance’s effectiveness, the same holds true for all traditional wart treatments as well.
When it comes down to it, the reality seems to be that warts can simply and unavoidably be difficult to treat. What works for one person may not work for another. Whether one pursues a traditional course or one of the alternatives listed here, the most important thing is to keep all the options open to find the one remedy that will, finally do the trick.
Treating plantar warts can be tricky. In many cases, the plantar wart itself will be completely covered by a callous-like layer of dead skin. Limiting any treatment’s ability to reach the actual site of the viral colony contained within the wart.
To counter this barrier, the dead skin should be gently removed with a pumice stone or appropriate skin file. In extreme cases, first aid or cosmetics scissors can be used to cut carefully away the dead skin. Care must be taken not to damage living skin cells during this process. Pain or visible bleeding is a sure sign that the removal has been too rough or gone too deep. It is often helpful to first soak the foot in a warm salt water bath to soften the dried skin and make it easier to remove.
Be sure to minimize any contact with healthy skin during this process I order to avoid spreading the virus even further. Any tools used should be soaked in a strong bleach solution for at least an hour afterwards and should after that never be used again for any purpose other than preparing the wart.