Health A-Z

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Over-the-counter ointments, lotions and plasters are available to treat common skin warts. Do not use them for warts on the face, genitals or anus. They should not be used by people with diabetes, poor circulation or infected warts. Over-the-counter remedies use strong chemicals to slowly destroy the wart over a period of weeks or months. For faster and more lasting treatment, your doctor may try several procedures, including:

  • Removing the wart surgically

  • Freezing the wart (cryosurgery)

  • Cauterizing the wart using electricity

  • Applying stronger surface (topical) medications

A doctor should always examine warts on the face, genitals and anus. In some cases, the doctor will prescribe a medication such as podofilox (Condylox) or imiquimod (Aldara), which you can apply to the wart yourself. In other cases, you doctor will use an office-based treatment, such as:

  • Surgical removal

  • Cryotherapy (freezing)

  • Application of strong medications, such as acids or podophyllum (Podofin, Podocon-25), to the skin

  • Interferon injections

  • Laser therapy

Several office visits may be necessary to complete your treatment.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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