A: Common skin warts, generally found on the hands and feet, are caused by a strain of the human papillomavirus. A wart will usually go away on its own as your immune system fights the virus. However, it may take months or years for a wart to heal on its own.
There are several treatments available for warts that don’t require a prescription. One treatment is with duct tape. A small piece of duct tape can be applied to the wart and left on for six days. At the end of the sixth day, remove the tape and soak the wart in water. Then use a pumice stone to gently rub off the top layer of skin. Leave the tape off overnight and repeat the process. This process may require two months of treatment to be effective. Over-the-counter salicylic acid treatments can also be effective (CompoundW, Occlusal and Clear Away). Salicylic acid works by softening the skin layers that form a wart so they can be easily rubbed off. These treatments may take weeks to months to cure a wart. There are also products available to “freeze” off the wart (Wartner and FreezeAway). These products use a chemical applied to a foam applicator which is then held on the wart for a few seconds to freeze and kill off the wart. While this process can be more painful, it can be a quicker solution to getting rid of the wart. None of these products should be used on the face, lips or genital area. You should see your doctor if the wart starts to look infected or doesn’t get better in a few months.
Information provided by Lena Mullins, Pharm D., Hy-Vee Drugstore, 1541 S.E. Third St., Suite 100, 986-4527.