Warts have long carried a social stigma that makes them unwelcome presences on the human body. After all, a witch is said to have a wart on the end of her nose, and warts are symbols of ugliness and aging. Although it is ill-advised by many medical professionals, it is possible to remove a wart at home if you don’t want to ask a doctor to do it.
The most effective way to remove a wart at home is to apply a product that contains salicylic acid. It is usually administered in plaster form for warts, corns and calluses, and according to the National Institute of Health (NIH), is a keratolytic agent. Its purpose is to open the pores and shrink the cells of the wart, forcing dead cells to rise to the surface.
When you use salicylic acid to remove a wart at home, it is imperative that you follow the directions on the product carefully. Some are designed for continual use, around the clock, while others should be used after bathing or only at night. Furthermore, this treatment is only effective for regular or plantar warts, and not for genital warts (which must be treated by a physician).
Salicylic acid is a topical way to remove a wart at home, which means that it is applied directly to the skin. In many forms, it can be brushed on with an applicator that comes with the product, after which it will harden into a “shell” over the wart. When it is time to reapply, wash the skin thoroughly to remove the previous dose if any remains on the skin.
If you are anxious to remove a wart at home, there are ways in which you can speed up the process. Salicylic acid alone will usually work if the type of wart you have is treatable, but it could take several months to be effective.
One way to speed up the process is to file the wart down with an emery board between every dosage of salicylic acid. This removes the dead wart cells and exposes the living cells to the acid on your skin. If this method is too abrasive, you can use your nails, a pumice stone or a washcloth to gently scrape the surface of the wart.
Many patients, according to the NIH, experience better results when they try to remove a wart at home if they use salicylic acid directly after a bath or shower. This is because the skin is still moist and therefore more permeable. The acid is better able to penetrate the surface of the wart, producing faster results.
However, there is no foolproof way to remove a wart at home. If you do not have success for several weeks, or if the wart becomes irritated, itchy, red, swollen or otherwise inflamed, it is a good idea to make an appointment with your doctor. He or she can verify definitively whether or not it is a wart, then employ more effective methods of removal.
NIH, Salicylic Acid Topical