Symptoms and Signs of How to Remove Warts

Medical Author: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
Medically Reviewed on 9/29/2021

Doctor's Notes on How to Remove Warts

Warts are small benign skin tumors caused by a virus called the human papillomavirus.

The appearance and symptoms of warts can differ based on the type of wart and where it is located on the body. Common types of nongenital warts include

Symptoms of wart include:

  • common warts are typical development on the hand (especially around the nail), gray to flesh colored, raised from the skin surface, and covered with rough, hornlike projections.
  • Plantar warts occur on the bottom of the foot, usually in high-pressure areas such as the heel and just behind the toes. Plantar warts usually grow into the skin, not outward like common warts, which makes plantar warts more difficult to treat.
  • Flat warts are most commonly seen on the face and the back of the hands and usually appear as small individual bumps about ¼ inch across. Flat warts may spread rapidly on the face from activities such as shaving.

What Is the Treatment for Warts?

Treatment of warts depends upon where the wart is located, its size, and how much it impacts you. Treatment is not necessary in all cases. Warts may disappear on their own without treatment.

Some methods of over-the-counter (OTC) self-treatment for warts include:

  • Cryotherapy
    • Over-the-counter kits are not as strong as the cryotherapy used by a medical professional
  • Salicylic acid applied to the wart
    • Liquid or patch versions
  • Some methods of treatment for warts used by medical professionals include:
    • Cryotherapy
      • Freezing the wart with liquid nitrogen 
    • Cantharidin liquid 
      • Shave excision
      • Shaving layers of the wart off slowly under local anesthetic especially used for plantar warts
    • Laser treatments
    • 5-fluorouracil cream (Efudex)
    • Imiquimod cream (Aldara)

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.