How to Remove Warts With Compressed Air

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Warts--they're contagious. If they do go away on their own, it could take years. And they're ugly. They are manifestations of an infection of the human papillomavirus, or HPV. Most types can be easily treated. There are patch treatments, cryosurgery, other surgical options and topical solutions. The most popular and speediest remedies involve destroying the infected area by freezing, either in a clinical setting or with over-the-counter kits. Both can be a little expensive, so a low-cost, low-tech solution has emerged in the form of that little can of compressed air on the corner of your desk.

Things You'll Need

  • Compressed air
  • Cotton swabs

Begin by turning the can upside down. Compressed air products are nothing more than aerosol propellants that vaporize at standard temperature and pressure. To get at the liquid that's shaking around inside the can--rather than releasing it as air--flip the can over so the propellant is near the nozzle.

Place the swab against the nozzle and pull the trigger. Thoroughly soak the swab and take extra care not to get the propellant on any healthy skin.

Quickly press the soaked swab to the wart. Use light-to-medium pressure and hold the swab in place for 20 or 30 seconds. The temperature of the liquid nitrogen a dermatologist would use is far lower, so the sting felt when using the compressed air is less dramatic, according to Dr. Lin Lee, who works with the Minute Clinic system at CVS Pharmacies.

Use a little antiseptic to prevent infection. The wart should begin to die within a day or so, but a repeat application may be needed if the skin is not completely clear within two weeks, according to Lee.

Tips & Warnings

  • Once the propellant leaves its pressurized environment, it warms rapidly. Apply the swab immediately.
  • Do not use pressurized air around an open flame.

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