Warts (Common Warts)

  • Medical Author:
    Gary W. Cole, MD, FAAD

    Dr. Cole is board certified in dermatology. He obtained his BA degree in bacteriology, his MA degree in microbiology, and his MD at the University of California, Los Angeles. He trained in dermatology at the University of Oregon, where he completed his residency.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Quick GuideCommon Childhood Skin Disorders

Common Childhood Skin Disorders

Is using over-the-counter wart treatments safe?

It is important to follow the directions when treating warts with nonprescription medications. If salicylic acid gets on normal skin, it can cause burning or redness but rarely infection or scarring. The skin returns to normal when the individual stops applying the salicylic acid product. Still, it's probably better not to use salicylic acid on sensitive areas like the face or groin, where it's likely to make nearby skin raw and uncomfortable. It generally is recommended that salicylic acid not be used in people with diabetes or in areas where there is poor circulation. Likewise, nonprescription freezing products are also reasonably safe but must be used carefully and only according to package instructions because they work by destroying living tissue.

Reviewed on 2/22/2016
References
REFERENCES:

Miller, D.J., and R.J. Strauch. "Management of Cutaneous Warts of the Hand." J Hand Surg Am 40.11 Nov. 2015: 2274-276.

Sterling, J.C., S. Handfield-Jones, P.M. Hudson. British Association of Dermatologists. "Guidelines for the management of cutaneous warts." Br J Dermatol. 144.1 Jan. 2001: 4-11.

"Viral Warts." DermNet NZ. Nov. 16, 2011. <http://dermnetnz.org/viral/viral-warts.html>.

IMAGES:

1.MedicineNet

2.Getty Images

3.Medscape, Interactive Media LLC, "Wart filiform eyelid" by Schweintechnik

4.iStock

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7.iStock

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