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Keratolytic Wart Removal


What is keratolytic wart removal?

Keratolytic wart removal is a procedure that uses acid medicine to thin and remove your wart. The medicine causes the outer layer of the skin to loosen and shed. The medicine may be a liquid, gel, or plaster patch.

How is keratolytic wart removal done?

Your healthcare provider may start this therapy in his office and have you continue the process at home. Keratolytic medicine is usually applied daily.

  • Soak your wart in warm water for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Dry the soaked area.
  • Use a pumice stone, sandpaper, or a nail file to remove the rough areas around your wart. This will help thin your skin so the keratolytic medicine will soak in better.
  • Put the medicine on your wart and let it dry. If you are using a plaster patch, cut the patch to the size of your wart and stick it on. Make sure not to place any medicine on your surrounding skin.
  • Cover your wart or plaster patch with a bandage or duct tape. Make sure the area where you applied the medicine is completely covered.
  • If you are using a plaster patch, change it every 24 to 48 hours.
  • Repeat the steps every 1 to 2 days or as directed by your healthcare provider. Continue treatment until your wart is gone.

What are the risks of keratolytic wart removal?

  • You may have a burning feeling when the medicine is applied to your skin. The procedure can cause redness, itching, or swelling. Some warts may take months to go away. Your wart may not go away completely, or it may return.
  • Without treatment, your wart may cause pain during your daily activities. Your wart may grow or spread to other parts of your body. You may also pass the virus that caused your wart to other people.

How can I prevent another wart?

  • Wash your hands: Wash your hands before and after you touch your wart.
  • Avoid direct contact with warts: Do not scratch or pick at your wart. Do not touch someone else's wart.
  • Do not walk barefoot in public places: Wear shower shoes or sandals in warm, damp areas. This includes shower stalls, swimming pool areas, and locker rooms.
  • Keep your feet clean and dry: Use foot powder between your toes and on your feet after you wash and dry them. Change socks often to avoid damp feet. If your shoes are damp from sweat, set them in a place where they can dry out before you wear them again.
  • Do not share or reuse items: Examples include nail files, pumice stones, socks, or towels. Clean these items with hot soapy water before you use them again.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever.
  • Your wart does not go away completely or it returns.
  • Your wart grows larger or begins to spread or cluster.
  • Your wound is red, swollen, or draining pus.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • Blood soaks through your bandage.
  • You have pain or swelling that gets worse or does not go away.
  • You get any wart medicine on your lips or in your mouth.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.