How to Remove Stubborn Warts

Warts can appear on your hand and other body areas.
Warts can appear on your hand and other body areas. (Image: Artwork: National Institutes of Health)

Warts are not dangerous, but they can be unsightly and annoying. Even though you don't need to treat them, you may choose to do so for cosmetic purposes. Most warts can be eliminated by purchasing over-the-counter medicated pads. The Mayo Clinic says that you can even use a piece of duct tape applied over the wart. While this may work in many cases, some warts are stubborn and require a series of increasingly more powerful steps to be removed.

Use an over-the-counter medicated pad to assess the stubbornness of the wart. Most warts can be removed through the use of such pads, but some are more stubborn and will require more intense removal methods. Try the simplest option before stepping up your efforts.

Use an at-home wart freezing system to remove the stubborn wart. Even if a wart has not responded to medicated pads, it will often be destroyed by just one freezing treatment. However, it may take up to two weeks from the time you do the treatment for the wart to actually fall off.

If the wart does not respond to home treatment, ask your doctor to apply cantharidin. This will cause the stubborn wart to blister, and your doctor can remove the blister along with the wart.

Have your doctor surgically remove the stubborn wart. This procedure can leave a scar, so it is usually only used when other treatments have been unsuccessful. The doctor either cuts away the wart or destroys it with an electric needle.

Have a laser procedure to remove the stubborn wart. Like surgery, the laser can leave a scar so it is reserved for the most difficult cases. It also tends to be more expensive than other removal options for stubborn warts.

Ask your doctor about using immunotherapy if your warts are particularly stubborn and resistant to removal. She may be able to prescribe a topical medication like squaric acid dibutylester or imiquimod gel. For the most stubborn cases, he or she may inject the medication directly into the wart.

Tips & Warnings

  • Refrain from picking at your warts. Warts are caused by a virus, and picking can allow it to move to other areas. Be patient while you are waiting for a treatment to work, and do not touch the wart while waiting for it to fall off.
  • Do not use home wart remedies on your face, especially around the eyes and lips, and in the gential area. Consult a doctor for help in removing stubborn warts in those areas.

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