Warts happen. They happen to almost everyone eventually. Warts are caused by an extremely common virus known as HPV, human papillomavirus. The only way to completely get rid of them is to get rid of all the skin cells that are infected with the virus. While your body often does this naturally over time through your immune system, you can get rid of them even faster with the many over-the-counter remedies that are available. This article will explain what different types of at-home treatments you can use, how they work, and how long you need to use them before you start to see results.
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How to Remove HPV Warts at Home
Removing warts at home isn’t complicated at all. It only requires patience and a little persistence, since most wart treatments require several repeat applications during the day. Your success with any at-home treatment will depend on your adherence to the treatment schedule and how well you follow the directions. So, make sure to read the instructions carefully before you begin. You should also be sure to select the right type of treatment for your type of warts. Choose the treatment that mentions your type of wart specifically.
Why are there so many different types of treatments? Because there are so many different types of HPV and the symptoms are often quite different depending on the type of HPV infection and where the breakout occurs. Did you know you can even have HPV and show no signs of infection? Read this article to learn about the heath issues that can occur if you have HPV with no warts.
Over the Counter Treatment for My HPV Warts
Are over the counter treatments as effective as prescription treatments? Yes, but they usually work slower. But over the counter treatments are usually more convenient and much less expensive, so it’s worth the wait as long as you still get rid of the warts. Since warts are so common, there are as many types of treatments available to help eliminate them as there are types of warts… and then some!
Some of the most popular treatments are:
- Liquids, creams and gels: Most of these treatments contain salicylic acid in various strengths. They work by sloughing away the excess growth and gently removing the wart over time. It will definitely take several applications to completely eliminate a wart with this treatment. Click here for more information about home remedies to get rid of warts.
- Electronic wart remover: There are a few electronic wart zappers that can be used at home. They burn the skin that contains the wart away with electricity and kill the blood supply. While this method tends to work faster than creams, use caution as scarring may occur. Read more here.
- Freezing: This is one of the fastest over the counter wart removal methods available. Some people try to cut the cost of treatment by using a chunk of dry ice to freeze away warts. This can be dangerous though as it’s unwieldy, hard to pinpoint targeting and may result in burns to other areas of the skin. It’s much better to use a product like Freeze Away or any other freezing product which is designed to be able to target small areas and can be held without risk of burning your hands. If used carefully, it’s usually effective after only two or three applications.
For a more detailed definition of freeze warts at home, click here.
While these creams can reach a deeper into the skin than just the surface, they still are probably not able to reach the very base of the wart, especially if it’s a deep one like a plantar wart. So, you will probably have to use the treatment for a while as the base grows out to make sure you completely eliminate the problem. Use the treatment for as long as the package recommends, and don’t just stop treatment at the first sign of improvement. If you do, your wart may simply grow back, meaning that it will take longer to fully cure it.
Top 3 HPV Wart Creams
- Bazuka Extra Strength: Bazuka helps to remove the excess growth of your wart by softening it while it attacks the virus that causes the wart. The dual action of the formula is effective if one follows the instructions very carefully and vigilantly uses abrasion to hone down the top of the wart as the cream works. Its active ingredient is salicylic acid at a strength of 26%, so it’s very strong. It should be used with caution.
- Compound W: Compound W is one of the most popular at home wart removal treatments and can be found at almost any drug store. It contains salicylic acid, just like Bazuka, but at a much lower strength of 17%. Those who find Bazuka too strong or painful to use may have an easier time with this lighter-strength cream instead. Further details can be found here.
- VidaroX Wart Removal Cream: This cream helps to prevent outbreaks and treat existing warts. It is specially formulated to treat genital warts, so it’s very safe for sensitive skin. It shortens the beginning-phase of the infection that causes burning, itching and pain while killing the virus both at the surface layers of skin and the deeper layers.
The Fastest Way to Remove HPV Warts
The fastest treatments for warts are usually found in the doctor’s office. Most of them are very painful too.
The fastest in-office wart removal treatments include:
- Bleomycin injections: Bleomycin is actually a chemotherapy drug used to shrink tumors and cure lymphoma. Since warts are tumorous (although benign), bleomycin can shrink them too and has been shown to be quite effective. The injection is also very painful, so be prepared. Please see detailed descriptions here.
- Laser removal: Lasers destroy the skin cells that cause the wart and cut off the blood supply to the base of the wart by destroying the blood vessels that feed it. It’s an actual surgery that leaves a wound where the wart was removed, so it’s usually done under general or local anesthetics and will hurt for several days until new skin grows out. Further details can be found here.
- Surgical removal: This is just what it sounds like. The doctor cuts the wart out as thoroughly as possible, hoping to remove the entire wart from the base up. Like laser removal, this is usually done under anesthetic and will take several days to heal as new skin grows out. For more information click here.
- Cryosurgery: This is actually a much simpler treatment than it sounds. The doctor simply uses liquid nitrogen to destroy warts by freezing them away. Read more here.
Laser surgery and simple surgical removal are the methods that usually cure the quickest. Often in as little as one treatment. Bleomycin and cryosurgery will usually take two or three treatments just to be sure that the base of the wart is completely removed, depending on how deep the wart is.
It is important to remember that just because a home-based or natural treatment says it has less side effects, it doesn’t mean it has none. Every medicine whether natural or man-made can have side effects and those risks should be carefully examined before beginning treatment. Always discuss home treatments with your doctor to assess the possibility of interactions with your other medications or pre-existing conditions. Also, be sure to do an allergy test before you begin a full course of treatment.
More Natural Treatments and Cures
Natural treatments can be just as effective as any other home remedy. They just require one additional ingredient – patience.
It can be worth the wait though to use these more gentle treatments because:
- they almost never cause scarring,
- they are usually gentle enough to be used on more sensitive skin,
- they don’t typically hurt as much,
- they usually have less side effects, and
- since they work by helping the body to eliminate the virus, they can be more effective in the long run.
Some natural wart treatments include apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil, oregano oil, banana peels and honey. All of these treatments are aimed at killing the virus, but they work from the top down since they can only be applied externally, so it takes time and patience for them to work.
All of the wart removal methods mentioned above will benefit from one additional remedy – a very healthy diet. The healthier you are from the inside out, the faster you will eliminate the common virus that causes warts.
Remember, warts are every bit as common as a cold, and your body knows how to fight them off. All it needs is a little help. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, mineral-rich foods and healthy fats and fibers and you will be on a great start. Add a full night’s sleep, moderate exercise three days a week and other healthy habits like not smoking and drinking and you’ll be rid of that pesky virus in no time.