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Warts are small growths on the skin caused by Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection. There are over 10 kinds of HPV that are known and they may infect different parts of the body including but not limited to the genitals, the mouth, and the skin on the hands and feet.

Warts are considered to be contagious and can be spread from one person to the other through direct skin contact or through a shared towel, bathmat etc. If warts are present on an area where you have to shave then the razor can also be a means to spread warts to other people.

Common treatment options for common warts

These treatment options are for common warts that occur on the skin. Genital or venereal warts must not be treated by the following options.

Do Nothing

That’s right. The first treatment option is to do nothing at all because almost half of common warts will go away on their own without the need for any other intervention. It can take for about a year to eighteen months for common warts to resolve on average.

Salicylic acid

If you want to lessen the amount of time that it takes for a wart to fall off then using a salicylic acid preparation is a good idea. These are available as gels, droplets, ointments, or plasters over the counter. Salicylic acid is ‘keratinolytic’ in nature, which means that it dissolves the skin protein keratin.

Since most of the mass of the common wart as well as the dead skin surrounding it is made up of keratin, salicylic preparations can help in the wart falling off early.

Freezing off the wart

There are many non-prescription kits that are available to help freeze off common warts from the skin. These kits utilize aerosols that freeze the warts at a temperature of about minus 57 degree Celsius. While these over the counter kits are pretty effective for small common warts on the body, they are not nearly as good for the bigger ones.

The temperature that these kits can achieve is not comparable to the professional cryotherapy treatment provided by dermatologists.

Duct Tape

This is a pretty common method that is used to remove warts from the body. Duct tape is used to cover the warts and left in place for a couple of weeks, removed only for a couple of hours in between. There is no evidence that this method works better than not doing anything at all.

If a duct tape has to be used then it should be used a wart remover where it is applied and then pulled off after about six days. The wart should then be gently filed using a pumice stone or a nail file to remove any dead skin that may still be remaining.


Common warts can be found on any part of the skin and only rarely do they require professional treatment. If you are, however, unsure as to what the nature of the growth is then it is better to see a doctor and have all your bases covered.


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