Warts Treatment Salicylic Acid

Although no single treatment is 100 percent effective for all warts, salicylic acid is considered by many practitioners to be the go-to medication for plantar wart and common wart removal. Salicylic acid is one of the most common forms of treatment for warts, and it’s especially useful for wart removal at home.

Salicylic acid is a keratolytic medicine; it speeds up your body’s natural wart removal process by softening the protein, or keratin, in your skin and allowing it to slough off. Salicylic acid products are widely available over-the-counter. You can find adhesive pads treated with salicylic acid, as wells as lotions and liquids, at most drugstores and even some supermarkets.

If you’re seeing a doctor for wart removal, she may also use salicylic acid, but in a much more concentrated form than you can purchase over-the-counter. The salicylic acid products a doctor might use typically have a 70 percent concentration, compared to the milder 17 percent found in drugstores.

Salicylic Acid Benefits

Salicylic acid is a popular technique for wart removal because it’s fairly simple to use for warts on your hands and feet, and because it does not cause scarring.

The many over-the-counter salicylic acid products available are generally inexpensive and effective for mild cases of warts.

Salicylic Acid Drawbacks

The biggest problem with using salicylic acid as a treatment for warts is that complete wart removal can take a long time—from weeks to months. Daily applications are generally necessary, and if the salicylic acid spreads outside the wart area, it can irritate or burn normal skin.

Although it is a mild form of treatment for warts, salicylic acid should only be used for warts on the hands and feet. If you’re using salicylic acid products on your own, be sure to follow the application directions carefully.

Salicylic Acid Wart Treatment Process

Before applying salicylic acid to your warts, wash and gently dry the affected areas. The acid will penetrate the skin more quickly and work more effectively if bathing has already softened your skin.

You can speed up the wart removal process by filing your warts. When your warts are dry, scrape off the tissue with a pumice stone or emery board, and then proceed to wash your warts and apply salicylic acid. Warts can spread easily, so be careful not to use the pumice stone or emery board in places where you don’t have warts.


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Lemont, H. (2006). Exploring current approaches to plantar warts. Retrieved June 9, 2010, from: http://www.podiatrytoday.com/article/6440.

Mayo Clinic. (2010). Treatments and drugs. Retrieved June 9, 2010, from: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/common-warts/DS00370/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs.

Warts Information Center. (2010). Wart remover—salicylic acid. Retrieved June 10, 2010, from: http://www.warts.org/wart-remover-salicylic-acid.html.