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Common Wart


A common wart is also called verruca vulgaris. A common wart is a firm, rough skin growth caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is a germ that spreads by skin-to-skin contact. Common warts are benign (not cancer).


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.

Follow up with your primary healthcare provider or dermatologist as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits. Your primary healthcare provider or dermatologist may remove your wart. He may also tell you to use any of the following treatments:

  • Liquid nitrogen: This is used to freeze your wart. Liquid nitrogen may cause mild pain for a short time. Use only as directed.
  • Salicylic acid: Salicylic acid is a peeling agent that may help you shed your wart. Soak the wart in warm water up to 20 minutes. Apply a small amount of salicylic acid directly to your wart. Avoid touching other skin areas with it, because you may irritate healthy skin. Let it dry, and 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.
  • Duct tape: This can help 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.
  • Topical creams: You may be given topical creams to help shrink your warts. Use these creams as directed.

Contact your primary 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.

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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.