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Warts: Can Duct Tape Remove Them?

By HERWriter
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“Can we go to Home Depot and buy some fresh duct tape?” my son asked.

“Sure,” I said, “What are you going to use it for?”

“I read a study (he is his mother’s son) that said you could remove warts with duct tape. I have a wart on my foot I want to try using it on.”

I too seemed to remember something about duct tape and wart removal so after we made our stop at the store, I did some research to find out how the duct tape treatment works.

Warts are caused by an HPV virus. Genital warts are caused by certain types of HPV viruses however, there are numerous other HPV viruses that cause warts on feet or hands especially in cuts or other areas where skin retains moisture. Warts on the bottom of the foot can also be painful making removal more desirable.

Warts are easily spread so it is best not to pick at a wart and to wear rubber foot protection in public places such as locker rooms or public pools. One poster on a forum reported getting warts on her feet after using a rented yoga mat. For some reason, certain people seem more susceptible and develop warts even though most all of us are exposed to these viruses. In theory, warts can resolve on their own but sometimes don’t or they reoccur.

Duct tape treatment and why it works:

It is unclear exactly how the duct therapy works but it is believed that the tape stimulates the person’s immune system perhaps due to local irritation from adhesive in the tape.

A study performed in 2002 tested the use of duct tape against cryotherapy which uses liquid nitrogen to freeze the warts on 61 patients aged 3-22. The duct tape group had an 85% resolution of their warts versus 60% in the cryotherapy group. Both groups showed improvement in the first month of treatment and there were very few negative side effects from the duct tape treatments.

How to use duct tape for wart removal:

1. Cover the wart with duct tape for 6 days. Replace with new duct tape if it falls off. You make add extra adhesive tape if needed to keep it in place;

2. On day 7, remove the duct tape, soak the area for 5 minutes in water and file the wart with an emery board. You can also use a pumice stone but it may cause additional bleeding; and

3. Wait 24 hours then replace the duct tape for another 6 days and continue the cycle for up to two months or until the wart disappears.

Duct tape treatment of warts is often suggested by dermatologists as an inexpensive, painless treatment that does have reports of success. Cryotherapy takes several applications and is often painful. Though it may take several weeks to see results with duct tape, it does seem worth a try especially with children.

One article suggested using colored duct tape on kids to make it a little more interesting than plain gray tape. Do not use the clear kind of duct tape; the adhesive is not the same. It is also worthwhile to note that in children, two thirds of all warts may spontaneously resolve on their own but it is a lot more fun to think it was the duct tape.


Efficacy of Duct Tape vs Placebo in the Treatment of Verruca Vulgaris (Warts) in Primary School Children accessed at http://people.oregonstate.edu/~williate/726/726_wk03_Duct_Tape_vs_Cryotherapy.pdf

Michele is an R.N. freelance writer with a special interest in woman’s healthcare and quality of care issues. Other articles by Michele can be read at http://www.helium.com/users/487540/show_articles

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.