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Treating Warts

You and your doctor can talk about what treatment may be best for your wart or warts. To get rid of your warts, your doctor may need to try more than one type of treatment. The methods described below are often used to treat warts.

Healthcare provider touching cotton swab to wart on woman's hand.

Types of Treatment

  • Cryotherapy (liquid nitrogen) freezes warts and destroys skin infected by the wart-causing virus. This is done in the doctor’s office and will cause some discomfort.

  • Prescribed topical medications can be put on the skin. These are usually applied in the doctor’s office.

  • There are also topical treatments that can be used at home. Over-the-counter medications that most often contain salicylic acid may be an option. These liquids and creams are used at home. But they may take weeks to work. The medication is applied daily to the wart or warts and nearby skin. A blister may form on this skin area. The blister then dries up and peels off.

  • Electrodesiccation (a type of surgery) with curettage (scraping) may be used to remove warts. The doctor applies numbing medication to the wart. Then the wart is scraped or cut off.

  • Laser surgery can vaporize wart tissue. This is done in the doctor’s office.

  • Injections can be used to treat warts that don’t respond to other treatments. This is done in the doctor’s office.

When to Seek Medical Treatment

It’s a good idea to have your doctor check your warts. That way, any other skin problems can be ruled out. Some warts go away without treatment. But others increase in number. To keep warts from spreading, you may want to have them removed. Treatment can also provide relief from warts that bleed, burn, hurt, or itch. Genital warts should always be treated. They can spread to other people through sexual contact.

Getting Good Results

After having your warts treated, new warts may still appear. Don’t be discouraged. Warts often recur. See your doctor again. He or she can tell you about the treatments that most likely will help clear your skin of warts.


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