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Common Wart


A common wart is a thick, rough, skin growth caused by human papillomavirus virus (HPV). HPV is a germ that spreads by skin-to-skin contact or contact with contaminated surfaces. Common warts are benign (not cancer).


Contact your healthcare provider or dermatologist if:

  • Your wart returns or does not go away after treatment.
  • Your wart grows larger, or begins to spread or cluster.
  • You have a wart on your face, genitals, or rectum.
  • Your wart bleeds, becomes painful, or drains pus.
  • You have questions about your condition or care.


  • Salicylic acid helps dry and remove the wart. It is available without a prescription. Ask your healthcare provider where you can purchase it. Before you apply salicylic acid, soak the wart in warm water for 20 minutes. Keep your wart damp. Apply a small amount of salicylic acid directly to your wart. Do not apply salicylic acid to healthy skin. Cover the wart as directed. It is best to do this at bedtime. When you wake, use a pumice stone (a rough stone) or nail file to gently remove dead skin. Repeat as directed.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Apply duct tape to your wart as directed:

Your healthcare provider may tell you to apply duct tape to your wart. Duct tape helps dry and remove the wart. You may be directed to leave the duct tape on for 6 days. On day 7, take the tape off and soak the wart in warm water for 5 minutes. Gently scrape the wart with a pumice stone or nail file. Then apply a new piece of duct tape and follow the same steps until the wart is gone.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.