How to Remove a Facial Wart
Like almost any wart that develops on your skin, facial warts are caused by the human papillomavirus. If a wart manifests on the face, it's usually linked to a certain strain of HPV responsible for flat warts, but you may also develop common warts on this area of the body 1. Treatment tends to be a bit more conservative, due to the sensitivity of the skin on your face. This is why the National Institutes of Health recommend you consult a physician prior to treating this type of wart.
Apply salicylic acid directly onto the wart each day. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends this over-the-counter wart remover for treating facial warts. It essentially peels away layer after layer of the wart until it is removed. Take care in applying the solution to the wart, as it's important to keep it off the rest of your skin.
Have your doctor apply a cantharidin solution to the wart. Cantharidin is a blistering agent that lifts the wart away from the skin, according to the Mayo Clinic 1. Once raised, the dead portions of the wart are removed and another treatment is applied to the growth.
Get a prescription for tretinoin. Though this medicated cream is commonly used to treat acne, the American Academy of Dermatology maintains that tretinoin can help treat and remove facial warts. And much like an OTC wart remover, it should be applied directly to the wart each day to hinder cellular growth.
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Talk to your doctor about cryotherapy. This may not be the most appropriate method of facial wart removal, but your doctor can make this assessment based on the location and severity of the wart. With cryotherapy, a liquid nitrogen solution is applied to the wart, destroying its cells. The dead portions are removed and another application typically follows.
Try having it surgically removed. Surgery is typically done with a scalpel, since there is less chance of scarring than with a laser. In this procedure, the facial wart is essentially scooped out of the skin. This method of wart removal is usually reserved for extremely difficult warts.
When using salicylic acid to treat a facial wart, dampen a washcloth with warm water and place it over the wart for 15 to 20 minutes. This should allow the solution to better penetrate the wart, soaking deeper into its roots
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- Mayo Clinic: Common Warts
- InformedHealth.org. Warts: Overview. Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG). Updated November 7, 2019.
- InformedHealth.org. What are the treatment options for warts? Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG). Updated November 7, 2019.
- Al Aboud AM, Nigam PK. Wart (Plantar, Verruca Vulgaris, Verrucae). Treasure Island, FL: StatPearls Publishing. Updated September 27, 2019.
- Liu J, Li H, Yang F, et al. Epidemiology and Clinical Profile of Cutaneous Warts in Chinese College Students: A Cross-Sectional and Follow-Up Study. Sci Rep. 2018;8(1):15450. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-33511-x
- Goldman RD. Duct tape for warts in children: Should nature take its course?. Can Fam Physician. 2019;65(5):337-338.
- Cockayne S, Hewitt C, Hicks K, et al. Cryotherapy versus salicylic acid for the treatment of plantar warts (verrucae): a randomised controlled trial. BMJ. 2011;342:d3271. doi:10.1136/bmj.d3271
- Baker DA, Ferris DG, Martens MG, et al. Imiquimod 3.75% cream applied daily to treat anogenital warts: combined results from women in two randomized, placebo-controlled studies. Infect Dis Obstet Gynecol. 2011;2011:806105. doi:10.1155/2011/806105
- Gaston A, Garry RF. Topical vitamin A treatment of recalcitrant common warts. Virol J. 2012;9:21. doi:10.1186/1743-422X-9-21
- Walczuk I, Eertmans F, Rossel B, et al. Efficacy and safety of three cryotherapy devices for wart treatment: A randomized, controlled, investigator-blinded, comparative study. Dermatol Ther (Heidelb). 2018;8(2):203-16. doi:10.1007/s13555-017-0210-5
- Dalimunthe DA, Siregar R, Tanjung C. Comparative clinical efficacy between electrodesiccation with curettage and application of 80% phenol solution in treatment of common warts. Open Access Maced J Med Sci. 2018;6(2):326-9. doi:10.3889/oamjms.2018.074
- Chauhan PS, Mahajan VK, Mehta KS, Rawat R, Sharma V. The efficacy and safety of intralesional immunotherapy with measles, mumps, rubella virus vaccine for the treatment of common warts in adults. Indian Dermatol Online J. 2019;10(1):19-26. doi:10.4103/idoj.IDOJ_142_18
- Nofal A, Elkot R, Nofal E, Mazen M. Combination therapy versus monotherapy in the treatment of recalcitrant warts: A clinical and immunological study. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2018;2018;12848. doi:10.1111/jocd.12848
- Raghukumar S, Ravikumar BC, Vinay KN, et al. Intralesional vitamin D injection in the treatment of recalcitrant warts: A novel proposition. J Cutan Med Surg. 2017;21(4):320-4. doi:10.1177/1203475417704180
Based in Minneapolis, Minn., Dana Severson has been writing marketing materials for small-to-mid-sized businesses since 2005. Prior to this, Severson worked as a manager of business development for a marketing company, developing targeted marketing campaigns for Big G, Betty Crocker and Pillsbury, among others.