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Warts are harmless growths on the skin. They’re caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) infections.
Warts are contagious. They can go away on their own, but it can take weeks, months, or years.
Conventional treatments include chemical peels, surgery, freezing, and laser surgery, but these treatments can be expensive and cause skin irritation.
Another option is to try natural home remedies for warts.
Not for genital warts or warts on your face
If you have genital warts or warts on your face, do not try these remedies. The skin in these areas is extremely sensitive, so visit your doctor instead.
Why certain home remedies may work
Natural remedies to get rid of warts include using foods, plants, or other products that have either antiviral or acidic properties or enzymes that inhibit the HPV virus.
Natural antiviral remedies might help suppress the virus that causes warts, while natural acids can help remove layers of infected skin. However, you should know that the evidence for many of these remedies is anecdotal, at best.
People swear by it
Many home remedies have little or no reliable scientific evidence to back them up; however, individuals report success using them to remove warts.
Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is an acidic substance made from fermented apple juice. It’s thought to work like salicylic acid, a common wart treatment that peels away infected skin, eventually removing the wart.
Vinegar also has natural antimicrobial properties that may help fight HPV, but more studies are necessary.
To try it, mix 2-parts apple cider vinegar and 1-part water. Soak a cotton ball with this mixture. Place it on the wart, and cover it with a bandage. Leave it on for three to four hours.
Always dilute apple cider vinegar with water. The acidity may cause irritation and chemical burns. Also, don’t apply it on open wounds.
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Anecdotal evidence suggests that banana peel might help get rid of warts.
However, there’s not actually any research linking banana peels to the treatment of warts or viral skin infections, nor is there scientific evidence that banana peels fight HPV.
If you want to try it, cut a piece of banana peel and tape it over the wart before bed, so that the inner part of the peel is touching your skin. Leave on while you sleep and repeat daily.
Garlic, a traditional home remedy
Garlic has a long history of being used to heal skin conditions like psoriasis, keloid scars, and corns. It’s also used for bacterial, fungal, and viral infections such as warts. In an older
2014 study, garlic extract got rid of warts within four weeks. The warts didn’t come back.
To treat warts with garlic, crush up 1 clove and mix it with water. Apply to the wart and cover with a bandage. Repeat daily for three to four weeks. You can also apply garlic juice or rub a clove on the wart.
Another popular wart remedy is orange peel. It’s an inexpensive option, but there isn’t scientific data to back it up.
This remedy involves rubbing an orange peel on the wart once a day. Supposedly, the wart will change color, darken, then fall off. This may take two weeks or more.
While there is some data to support the potential effectiveness of bromelain in treating a few medical conditions, there aren’t any scientific studies supporting its use to remove warts.
People have reported success removing warts using pineapple juice in several ways. One method is to soak the wart in pineapple juice every day. Another technique is to apply fresh pineapple daily.
People claim that potato juice can “dehydrate” a wart, but no studies exist regarding its effectiveness.
To try this method, cut a small potato in half. Rub the cut side on the wart until it’s covered in potato juice. Repeat twice a day.
Many people think of dandelions as pesky weeds. However, ancient Chinese and Middle Eastern medicine use dandelions for their medicinal properties.
Dandelions have antimicrobial properties, which may be useful for fighting warts, but more research is needed to confirm.
To try this method, break apart a dandelion and squeeze out the sticky white sap. Apply to the wart once or twice a day. Repeat for two weeks.
Never use dandelions that have been sprayed with chemicals.
Aloe vera gel is commonly used for skin conditions like burns and psoriasis. If your wart is itchy or painful, the gel may provide relief.
Aloe vera gel is also known to fight pathogens, including viruses. A
To use aloe, remove a leaf from an aloe vera plant and cut it open. Apply the gel to the wart. Repeat daily.
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Aspirin is made of salicylic acid, a common ingredient in over-the-counter wart treatments.
Salicylic acid works to heal warts by peeling away the infected skin. Over time, this removes the wart.
Aspirin is thought to have a similar effect. The suggested method is to crush aspirin tablets and mix with water. Apply the paste on the wart and cover with a bandage overnight.
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Clear nail polish
Clear nail polish is another anecdotal wart remedy. It’s said to “suffocate” the virus, but there isn’t hard evidence on its effectiveness.
At the very least, clear nail polish can act as a protective coating.
The method involves coating the wart with clear nail polish. Some people do this every other day, while others do it two or three times a day.
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Vitamin C has immune-boosting properties and is essential for wound healing and healthy skin tissue. An older
To try Vitamin C as a topical treatment for warts, crush up a vitamin C tablet and mix it with water. Apply the paste to the wart, cover with a bandage, and leave overnight. Repeat daily.
Some people claim that lemon juice and vitamin C make a more effective paste. This could be from the acidity of lemon juice. Lemon juice may cause skin irritation, so use it with caution.
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Another home remedy for warts is vitamin E. This nutrient is vital for a healthy immune system. It’s thought to improve your body’s reaction to HPV, but there aren’t any studies to support this claim.
You can puncture a vitamin E capsule and apply the oil to the wart. Protect the wart with a bandage and keep it on overnight. Repeat daily for two weeks.
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Honey bees produce a resin-like substance called propolis. It’s made of plant substances, beeswax, pollen, and bee enzymes.
Bees offer wart relief
Research suggests that Propolis has antiviral properties and promotes skin cell production. It’s used to treat acne, wounds, and the herpes simplex virus. These benefits may also help heal infected skin and fight HPV.
To use propolis, apply it on the wart. Place a bandage on top and leave overnight. Repeat daily.
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Apply castor oil on the wart every day. It might take two or more weeks for the wart to fall off.
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Duct tape is one of the most popular home remedies for warts. It’s inexpensive and easy to find. Duct tape is said to remove the infected skin over time.
Most of the research on duct tape’s effectiveness is outdated. A
To use duct tape, stick a small piece on the wart. Remove it every three to six days. Soak the wart in water and scrub it with pumice stone or emery board. Leave it uncovered for 10 to 12 hours. Repeat the process.
If you have sensitive skin, use duct tape with caution. It may cause redness, irritation, and bleeding.
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Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil has powerful antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties and is used to treat skin conditions like acne and athlete’s foot. Researchers are currently studying if the oil’s antiviral properties may also help get rid of warts.
Some methods suggest applying tea tree oil on the wart, but undiluted oil can cause skin irritation. You should always dilute it first.
To do so, combine 1 to 2 drops of tea tree oil with 12 drops of a carrier oil, like almond oil or castor oil.
Add 3 to 4 drops of this mixture on a cotton ball. Place it on the wart for 5 to 10 minutes. Repeat two or three times a day.
If you experience irritation, you might need to dilute it even more.
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If natural remedies aren’t working to rid you of warts, you may want to pursue conventional medical treatment with a doctor.
Some of the most effective and popular medical treatments for wart removal include:
- Cantharidin. Your doctor may treat your wart by covering it with cantharidin, a substance that will cause a blister to form under the wart. About a week after treatment, your doctor will be able to cut off the dead wart
- Cryotherapy. Cryotherapy is the most common treatment and involves a doctor freezing off your wart, but you may need to repeat treatments. It can cause dark spots in people who have dark skin.
- Electrosurgery/Curettage. Electrosurgery involves burning the wart after a local aneshetic is applied, while curettage involves scraping off the wart with a sharp tool. These two procedures are often used together.
- Excision. Your doctor may cut out the wart with a sharp tool.
- Laser treatment. This is an option for warts that have not responded to other therapies. Your wart may be numbed before the procedure.
- Chemical peels. This treatment involves applying a peeling medication like salicylic acid, glycolic acid, or tretinoin at home every day.
- Bleomycin. Your doctor may inject your wart with an anti-cancer medication called bleomycin. The shots may be painful and can cause nail loss if given in the fingers or toes.
- Immunotherapy. This treatment uses the immune system to fight warts. It involves applying a chemical to the warts, which causes a mild allergic reaction, and may cause the warts to go away.
Warts usually go away on their own, but natural home remedies for warts may help speed up the process.
Most home remedies for warts aren’t backed by evidence-based research. However, some people claim that these remedies have worked for them.
Always do a patch test first. Even natural treatments can cause skin irritation.