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Keratolytic Wart Removal

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jan 5, 2023.

What do I need to know about keratolytic wart removal?

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

What will happen during keratolytic wart removal?

Keratolytic medicine is usually applied daily. Your healthcare provider may start this therapy in his or her office. You will continue the process at home:

  • Soak your wart in warm water for 5 to 10 minutes. Dry the area.
  • Use a pumice stone 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.

When should I call my doctor?

  • Blood soaks through your bandage.
  • You have pain or swelling that gets worse or does not go away.
  • Your wound is red, swollen, or draining pus.
  • You have a fever or chills.
  • You get wart medicine on your lips or in your mouth.
  • Your wart does not go away completely, or it returns.
  • Your wart grows larger or begins to spread or cluster.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

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.