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Last updated on April 20, 2014 at 13:20 EDT

Duct Tape Patches Up Warts

December 10, 2004

It’s one of many ways to rid yourself of unsightly growths

HealthDayNews — If you have warts, you might want to head to the hardware store for a roll of duct tape.

That’s one of the suggestions for dealing with warts offered in the December issue of the Harvard Health Letter. The article noted that there’s a 50 percent to 60 percent chance that your own immune system will take care of a wart within two years.

But if you want to get rid of a wart right away, the article offered the following treatment options:

  • Salicylic acid, which can usually be bought over the counter as liquid, patch, or gel. First, use an emery board or pumice stone to file away dead wart skin. Then soak the wart for 10 to 15 minutes and apply the salicylic acid. Do this treatment once or twice a day for 12 weeks.
  • Liquid nitrogen, which freezes the wart, is effective but painful. The nitrogen is sprayed or swabbed onto the wart. The extreme cold of the liquid nitrogen burns the wart and causes redness and often a blister. This method, which is done by a clinician, usually takes three to four treatments, one every two to three weeks.
  • Duct tape. The Harvard Health Letter article said that one study found duct tape was about 45 percent more effective than liquid nitrogen at treating warts. Cut a piece of duct tape to match the size of the wart and wear the duct tape on the wart for six days. Then, remove the duct tape patch and soak and file the wart. Leave it uncovered for the night and reapply a duct tape patch the next morning. Repeat this process for two months or until the wart is gone.
  • Another treatment involves a clinician using an electric needle to dry the wart, which is then scraped away. This requires a local anesthetic and usually leaves a scar.
  • Prescription drugs can be used to treat warts, but they often cause side effects.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about warts.